N.H. Air National Guard base gets its first KC-46A tanker

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities, adjutant General of New Hampshire, and Brig. Gen. Laurie Farris, commander of the N.H. Air National Guard, display a N.H. state flag as they exit the first KC-46 delivered to Pease Air National Guard Base. Photo by Senior Airman Taylor Queen/157th Air Refueling Wing/U.S. Air National Guard

Aug. 9 (UPI) — Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., is the first guard base to receive a next-generation KC-46A Pegasus refueling tanker plane.

The plane arrived late Thursday at the 157th Air Refueling Wing for a ceremonial welcome as rock music played and fire trucks sprayed arcs of water. Pilot Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Air National Guard, concluded his 40-year military career in bringing the plane to his home state.

The plane, developed from a Boeing 767 passenger plane, is replacing KC-135 Stratotankers in the U.S. Air Force fleet of refueling planes. The air base will receive three KC-46As per month for four months.

The first KC-46A was delivered to the Air Force in January 2019, whose plans include the purchase of 179 of the planes by 2027.

The KC-46A is capable of refueling any fixed-wing plane, foreign or domestic made, while both planes are airborne. It can also accommodate a mix of passengers, including patients and cargo.

In March, the Airwing announced its intent to divest all of its KC-135s to prepare for the arrival of the new KC-46A tanker. One was delivered from the Pease base to the 161st Air Refueling Wing at Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Ariz., in March.

Development of the KC-46A has been slow. Contractor Boeing Co. was three years behind schedule on the program before deliveries began. Last week the company received a $55.5 million contract modification for engineering work on a redesign of the plane’s boom telescope actuator.


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