Boeing will strengthen the defenses of its KC-46A Pegasus tanker to respond to new threats

Threatened by the new orientations of the US Air Force around the KCz program, the aircraft manufacturer Boeing will improve the defensive capabilities of its KC-46A Pegasus

The increase in tensions and risks of conflict in the face of leading adversaries, such as China and Russia, has led the US Air Force to profoundly review its acquisition strategy in terms of support aircraft in recent months.

Thus, at the beginning of March 2023, the Air Force announced, within the framework of the parliamentary hearings concerning the 2024 budget of the Pentagon, its intention to bring back the volume of acquisition of tanker aircraft of the KCy program which was to be launched soon, from 150 to 75 devices.

The objective aimed by the American staff, is to release appropriations and resources for the KCz program which was to make it possible to complete the replacement of KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender, to be equipped with a next generation device likely to be able to evolve in the future environment of very high intensity engagements.

Boeing's KC-46A Pegasus to receive new hard-kill and soft-kill defensive capabilities

This announcement represents very bad news for Boeing, winner of the KCx competition in 2011, but whose KC-46A Pegasus will have been much longer, more difficult and above all expensive to design and make reliable, forcing the American aircraft manufacturer to record very significant losses in recent years to correct the problems.

In fact, for Boeing, the KCy and KCz programs represented the only alternative to try to absorb the previous losses, and the new strategy of the US Air Force shattered these hopes, even if it announced concomitantly that 'She intended not to launch a competition for KCy, and simply order 75 KC-46As to maintain a homogeneous fleet and reduce costs.


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