Boeing is developing a versatile aerial refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force that will be a game-changer for the joint force and overseas allies. The tanker is critical to future military operations because many key destinations in Europe and Asia cannot be reached by U.S. aircraft without aerial refueling, and over 80% of the tankers in the current Air Force fleet exceed 50 years of age. The new refueler, designated KC-46, will be by far the most capable tanker in the world — able to refuel two aircraft at a time from a highly survivable aircraft that can also carry cargo, troops, and casualties in an medical evacuation. When it begins joining the force this year, KC-46 will be ready to support all the combat aircraft in the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, plus those of allies and coalition partners. It also will be certified and equipped to fly pretty much anywhere, including into contested air space. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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