Air National Guard Receives First KC-46

 - August 13, 2019, 6:09 PM
The New Hampshire ANG’s welcome for its first two KC-46A tankers at Pease ANGB on August 8 included a water salute from the base fire department. (Photo: 157th ARW)

On August 8 the 157th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) of the New Hampshire Air National Guard took delivery of its first two Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tankers. The aircraft arrived at Pease Air National Guard Base (ANGB) direct from Boeing Field in Seattle. The 157th ARW and its subordinate 133rd Air Refueling Squadron are to operate 12 of the 179 KC-46As currently on order for the U.S. Air Force. The delivery plan for the 157th ARW is to receive three aircraft per month over four months.

Previously the 157th ARW had operated a fleet of eight Boeing KC-135Rs, its aircraft being subsequently redistributed around other ANG KC-135 units. The last of the veteran tankers was flown out on March 24 to the Arizona ANG’s 161st Air Refueling Wing at Goldwater ANGB in Phoenix (Sky Harbor Airport). Around $115 million is being spent on updating the infrastructure at Pease to cater to the Pegasus, and the unit’s staffing is increasing by around 100.

KC-135R
One of the 157th ARW’s KC-135Rs departs Pease on January 30 for a delivery flight to the 151st ARW at Roland R. Wright ANGB, Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo: 157th ARW)

Boeing delivered the first KC-46As to the U.S. Air Force in January, the recipient being the active-duty 22nd ARW at McConnell AFB, Kansas. That unit also received a KC-46A on August 8 to bring its fleet to nine, of a planned total of 36. The formal training unit for the type—the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus AFB, Oklahoma—received its first KC-46A on February 8.

Meanwhile, trials with the KC-46A by the 412th Test Wing continue at Edwards AFB, California, including multi-point refueling missions involving the tanker’s centerline and two underwing drogue units.