WASHINGTON — The Air Force has awarded Boeing a $2.3 billion contract for 15 more KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers.

In a contract announcement Friday evening, the Pentagon said the latest batch of KC-46s will make up the ninth production lot of the tankers, and their construction is expected to be completed by the end of August 2026.

Boeing said Monday this brings the number of KC-46s the Air Force has under contract to 128, 68 of which are delivered and in use.

Boeing is also under contract for 10 more KC-46s to partner nations, six for Japan and four for Israel. Japan has already received its first two KC-46s.

The KC-46 has steadily increased its ability to refuel more aircraft in recent years. In September, the Air Force said it is now cleared to carry out all refueling missions around the world on all aircraft except the A-10 Warthog.

In August, a trio of KC-46s carried out the Pegasus’ first refueling missions during real-world operations. These KC-46s were in the Middle East region for a training exercise and refueled F-15E Strike Eagle fighters carrying out U.S. Central Command missions.

Two KC-46s also carried out long endurance flights totaling 42 hours in December, supporting a bomber task force mission in the Indo-Pacific region.

The contract award also provides for data, subscriptions and licenses in addition to the aircraft.

KC-46s are built in Everett, Washington, on Boeing’s 767 production line. They have the capability to share data between other nearby aircraft and operations centers on the ground to increase battlefield awareness.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.



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