Boeing has offered military aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft, KC-46 Pegasus, amidst growing uncertainty over India's tender for six multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft.
The Narendra Modi government had withdrawn a tender for the MRTT aircraft in July. Earlier, another tender won by Airbus for A330 MRTT was also scrapped. Nevertheless, Boeing's representatives were in New Delhi to brief IAF on the aircraft, IAF sources told StratPost.
Boeing had also briefed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar about KC-46 Pegasus' capabilities during his visit to the US in August. He had visited Boeing's Philadelphia facility. The KC-46 is developed from Boeing 767 commercial jet airliner. The aircraft has multi-role capability, which means it also has the ability to carry passengers, cargo and patients along with its tanker role.
US Air Force had awarded its tanker contract to Boeing KC-46 in 2011, in which it is expected to make 179 aircraft units by 2027.
Boeing had not participated in both the IAF tenders for MRTT aircraft, but had said that it was willing to offer it to India if selected for the US tanker program.
There is no clarity if India would go in for government-to-government contract for the MRTT or if it would reissue the tender.
KC-46 has a fuel capacity of 96,265kg and maximum air speed of 650mph. It features two Pratt & Whitney PW 4062 with 289.13 kN thrust. The aircraft features wing air refuelling pods, advanced fly-by-wire refuelling boom, defensive systems like infrared countermeasures, radio frequency warning and night vision lighting, among others.