Boeing will deliver the third and fourth Boeing KC-46 tanker through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF), following the U.S. Air Force's extension option, the company reported on Friday.
“Japan’s new tankers will play an invaluable role in the security alliance between our two countries,” said Col. Jason Lindsey, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.
Boeing’s KC-46 will be a force multiplier in the U.S.-Japanese defense alliance. The tanker is able to refuel all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. It also has the ability to carry passengers, cargo and patients.
The company currently assembles KC-46A aircraft for both the U.S. Air Force and the JASDF on its 767 production line in Everett. Japan’s first KC-46 is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
“This order further enhances our enduring partnership with Japan,” said Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan. “The KC-46 will be an unparalleled asset to Japan’s air mobility fleet for decades to come.”
The Boeing KC-46 team began assembling Japan’s first next-generation tanker, loading a 82.4-foot long wing spar in the company’s 767 production facility, in Sept. 2019. Boeing was awarded a FMS contract for one KC-46A aircraft and logistics services in Dec. 2017, following the Japan Ministry of Defense’s KC-X aerial refueling competition.
The U.S. Air Force exercised an option for Japan’s second aircraft in Dec. 2018. Boeing began developing the KC-46A for the U.S. Air Force in 2011 and delivered the first tanker in January 2019. Japan is the program’s first international customer.
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