Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Boeing has received a $2.9 billion contract for lot 4 production of 18 KC-46 aircraft, spare parts, and support equipment for the U.S. Air Force.
The contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, provides for 18 KC-46 aircraft, data services, two spare engines, five wing refueling pod kits, spares, and support equipment. Work will be conducted in Seattle, Wash., and is expected to be completed by January 2022.
Air Force fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $44 million, fiscal 2017 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $202 million and fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $2.6 billion are being obligated at the time of award, the Pentagon said.
The KC-46 Pegasus is a wide-bodied aerial refueling tanker jet being developed for the U.S. Air Force. It is capable of refueling all U.S. and allied military aircraft capable of mid-air refueling.
The aircraft has met performance and cost requirements but problems with development and the necessary fixes have led to delays in the KC-46s delivery to the Air Force.
Aerial tankers are an essential requirement for refueling of fighter planes, strategic bombers and cargo aircraft. The U.S. Air Force has the most extensive fleet of aerial tanker aircraft in the world and often assists allied nations in operations.
The new contract brings the total number of KC-46s on order for the Air Force to 52, with a total of 179 planned for purchase over the lifespan of the Pegasus program.
The aircraft completed it's final flight tests in July. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered to the Air Force in October.