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KC-46A Pegasus Flies Non-Stop for 16,000 Miles, Longest Air Mobility Command Mission Ever

The KC-46A Pegasus is described by the American military as “the first phase in recapitalizing the U.S. Air Force's aging tanker fleet.” The Boeing machine was first flown on active duty in 2014, and will eventually grow into a fleet of 179 tanker units.
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All of them are deployed with the Air Mobility Command (AMC), the U.S. Air Force structure tasked with keeping other USAF assets flying by providing them with flying fuel stations.

Normally, a Pegasus can fly for up to 7,350 miles (11,830 km) when using in-flight refueling itself, but one of them shattered all records earlier this month by nearly doubling that.

The plane in question is deployed with the 157th Air Refueling Wing, and on November 16 it departed America’s east coast heading westward. The thing flew over the entire continental USA, headed out over the Pacific Ocean, reached Hawaii, and then turned back to New Hampshire.

All in one fell swoop that saw the airplane fly non-stop for 36 hours and for a distance of 16,000 miles (25,700 km), an all-time record for the AMC. Three crews were on deck and rotated in the cockpit.

“This extended mission is yet another example of capable Airmen taking charge and moving out to accelerate our employment of the KC-46A,” said, in a statement released this week, Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander.

“This total force mission boldly highlights the imperative to think differently, change the way we do business, and provide options to the joint force.”

The achievement comes just two months after AMC cleared the KC-46A Pegasus for worldwide use, including in combat missions. Although this extended flight was not in support of any war America is now fighting, it does go to prove that if need be, aircraft can be in the air for tremendous amounts of time and can cover huge distances.

Editor's note: Gallery shows various KC-46A Pegasus aircraft.

 
 
 
 
 

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