Boom actuators play key role on refuelling tanker
The US Air Force has accepted the first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft, setting the stage for the aircraft’s delivery to McConnell Air Force Base, in Wichita, Kan, in the coming weeks. Central to the tanker’s operation are the fly-by-wire refuelling boom actuators supplied by Moog Aircraft Group. These actuators allow the boom operator to control the deployment and positioning of the aerial refueling boom during refueling operations. Moog Aircraft Group received the order from Boeing, which itself was selected to build the next generation KC-46 aircraft refueling tanker to replace 179 of the US Air Force’s KC-135 tankers. Moog supplies flight control and other actuation system products to other Boeing aircraft including the F-15, F-18, V-22, and the 787. The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in Boeing’s Everett, Wash, facility.
During extensive flight testing, six KC-46 completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than four million pounds of fuel to A-10, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. The Pegasus has been rigorously tested throughout all aspects of the refueling envelope and in all conditions, including day, night and covert.
Moog is a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and integrator of precision control components and systems. Moog’s high-performance systems control military and commercial aircraft, satellites and space vehicles, launch vehicles, missiles, automated industrial machinery, wind energy, marine and medical equipment. For the KC-46A, Moog provided the design, integration and qualification of the complete actuation system used to extend, retract and guide the refueling boom during in-flight refueling operations. Moog’s system includes fly-by-wire actuators to provide precision control of the boom’s rudder and elevator flight surfaces. Moog also provided the telescoping and hoist actuators used to extend and retract the entire boom.
“Moog is delighted to be a part of the KC-46A Tanker program and excited to provide the warfighter with the next generation Boom control technology for aerial refueling,” said Ralph Elbert, group vice president and general manager for the military sector at Moog Aircraft Group.”
Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said: “The KC-46A is a proven, safe, multi-mission aircraft that will transform aerial refueling and mobility operations for decades to come. We look forward to working with the Air Force, and the Navy, during their initial operational test and evaluation of the KC-46, as we further demonstrate the operational capabilities of this next-generation aircraft across refueling, mobility and combat weapons systems missions. I want to thank the men and women of the Air Force and across the Boeing tanker team who made this happen.”
With the signing of what’s known as the DD250 paperwork, the delivery activities can proceed. McConnell Air Force Base will receive the first four KC-46 aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery, with four subsequent aircraft destined for Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base, beginning as early as next month.
Boeing is on contract for 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the Air Force. Beyond the first aircraft that was accepted today, nine aircraft are undergoing customer acceptance testing with the remaining aircraft of the contracted amount in production.
“This is an exciting and historic day for the Air Force and Boeing, as we hand over the first of many KC-46 tankers,” said Boeing chairman, president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “I’m proud of the dedication and commitment by our enterprise-wide team, and we’re honoured to provide this valuable and capable aircraft to our customer. We look forward to continuing to build and support the KC-46 for the Air Force – and other customers across the globe – for decades to come.”
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