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Air Force’s KC-46A Tanker Conducts First Global Flight

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The U.S. Air Force’s Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus has completed a seven-leg journey around the world as part of the tanker’s initial operational test and evaluation phase which began in October.

The service branch said Sunday the 22nd Air Refueling Wing finished the refueling aircraft’s first global flight after 13 days, including a few stops at a U.K. air force base as well as the 2019 Dubai Air Show.

Fourteen crew members from the 22nd ARW traveled to RAF Mildenhall in England before heading to the United Arab Emirates to debut the tanker’s static display and weapon systems at the 2019 DAS.

Col. Thad Middleton, commander of the 22nd Operations Group, said the flight provided “invaluable training” for crews in oceanic procedures, dynamic mission planning and unfamiliar airfield operations.

“Missions like this are instrumental in helping our Airmen work through the challenges we’ve experienced with the KC-46 program,” added Col. Richard Tanner, commander of the 22nd ARW. “The operational experience our crews gained during this around-the-globe trip will pay long-term dividends as the Pegasus becomes a significant portion of our Air Force’s future tanker fleet.”