Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The Air Force has awarded Boeing a $2.1 billion contract for 15 KC-46A tankers, the Pentagon and Boeing announced.
According to Boeing, the deal will expand the Air Force's fleet of aerial refueling aircraft that also act as a sort of cellular tower in the sky, connecting forces to data needed to "maintain the decision advantage and win on the 21st century battlefield."
"The KC-46's adaptability is going to be a game-changer for the U.S. Air Force," Jamie Burgess, Boeing KC-46 tanker vice president and program manager, said Thursday in a press release.
"We know our defense customers will need to transform how they fight and win in the modern era. That's why Boeing is focused on making sure the KC-46 grows and changes with them," Burgess said.
Boeing delivered the first KC-46A to the Air Force in January 2019, and has since delivered 42 tankers to McConnell Air Force base in Kansas, Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, Pease Air National Guard base in New Hampshire and Seymour Johnson Air Force base in North Carolina.
The company is now on contract for 94 KC-46A tankers, which are designed for air refueling, as well as cargo and medical transport.
"Our KC-46 fleet is growing, and we're ready to extend the reach of next-generation air refueling to more of our Airmen," said Col. Jason Lindsey, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.
According to the Department of Defense, work on this deal will be performed in Seattle and is due to be complete by May 2024.
This is the second big-ticket order for KC-46A tankers in a month.
Last week, Boeing was awarded a $1.7 billion deal to build 12 of the aircraft for the Air Force.