The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus is an American military aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft developed by Boeing from its 767 jet airliner. In February 2011, the tanker was selected by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the winner in the KC-X tanker competition to replace older Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The first aircraft was delivered to the Air Force in January 2019. The Air Force intends to procure 179 Pegasus aircraft by 2027.
In 2001, the U.S. Air Force began a procurement program to replace around 100 of its oldest KC-135E Stratotankers, and selected Boeing’s KC-767. The Boeing tanker received the KC-767A designation from the United States Department of Defense in 2002 and appeared in the 2004 edition of DoD model designation report. The USAF decided to lease 100 KC-767 tankers from Boeing.
US Senator John McCain and others criticized the draft leasing agreement as being wasteful and problematic. In response to protests, the USAF struck a compromise in November 2003, whereby it would purchase 80 KC-767s and lease 20 more. In December 2003, the Pentagon announced a freeze on the program over an investigation into alleged corruption that led to the jailing of one of its former procurement executives who applied to work for Boeing. The KC-767A contract was officially canceled by the DoD in January 2006.
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On 23 April 2014, the USAF announced that the KC-46 Pegasus will be based at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, with an optimistic expectation that the base would start receiving the first of 36 tankers in 2016. At the time of the announcement, the KC-135 Stratotanker was stationed at this base. McConnell AFB was chosen because it had low construction costs and it is in a location with a high demand for air refueling. In addition to McConnell AFB serving as the home base, up to 10 operating bases are to be chosen for the KC-46 fleet. Crews will be trained at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, which was also chosen for its limited construction needs and for its existing experience with training programs for the C-17 Globemaster and KC-135
On November 20, 2013, Dreamlifter N780BA operated by Atlas Air inadvertently landed at Colonel James Jabara Airport, a small general aviation airport in Wichita, Kansas. Its intended destination was McConnell Air Force Base, 9 miles (14 km) past Jabara Airport on the same heading. The aircraft was able to successfully take off again from Jabara's 6101 ft (1.86 km) runway the following day and landed at McConnell without incident