Last week, the KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft passed one of its two final milestones prior to entering service with the U.S. Air Force. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the platform a supplemental type certificate, the second of two FAA certificates that will permit the aircraft to operate in U.S. airspace. While the Pegasus still must be granted its military type certificate, which covers specialized military functions and systems, all testing required for this certificate has been accomplished. Now nothing stands in the way of the KC-46 entering service. The KC-46 is entering service in the nick of time. In an era in which great power competition has re-emerged as the primary focus of U.S. national security planning, the demands on air mobility assets overall, but refueling tankers in particular, are certain to increase. I have written more on this subject for RealClearDefense here.
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