AMC/CC approves F-35A and F-22 receivers as fifth ICR milestone 

  • Published
  • By Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, approved a fifth Interim Capability Release (ICR) mission set for the KC-46A Pegasus on Feb. 23, 2022, allowing the KC-46A to refuel the F-35A and F-22 Raptor during U.S. Transportation Command-tasked missions. The decision also released the KC-46A to support Bravo and Charlie alert missions.   

“Our data shows that the KC-46A can now support nearly 85 percent of USTRANSCOM air refueling taskings, so we’re not going to hold back on offering this additional capacity to the Joint Force,” said Brig. Gen. Ryan Samuelson, AMC deputy director of Strategy, Plans, Requirements and Programs and KC-46 Cross Functional Team lead.

The KC-46A ICR plan allows the Pegasus to conduct operational taskings that would otherwise be filled by the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender, increasing the force’s air refueling capacity and further seasoning total force Pegasus aircrews with operational missions.

On July 9, 2021, the first ICR decision approved the KC-46A Pegasus to refuel aircraft using its Centerline Drogue System. The second ICR decision, which approved the KC-46A to refuel the B-52, C-17 and other KC-46 aircraft using its boom, was made Aug. 5, 2021. Approved on Oct. 15, 2021, the third decision allowed the KC-46A to refuel all variants of the F-15 and F-16. The fourth ICR was approved Dec. 6, 2021 and allowed the boom mission set for the AC-130J, HC/MC-130J, C-5M and E-3G receivers.

There is no timeline associated with the overall ICR plan, which instead focuses on establishing incremental confidence measures that allow the AMC commander and other senior leaders to qualitatively and quantitatively assess achievements at ICR milestones. Crews will continue to fly training, exercise and demonstration missions until all operational confidence measures are met.

Despite existing restrictions and deficiencies, the KC-46A continues to demonstrate its growing operational capabilities. The Pegasus offloaded over 47.2 million pounds of fuel and completed more than 31,800 boom and 2,100 drogue contacts since January 2019.

As of March 21, 2022, the Air Force has 57 KC-46As in its inventory. The KC-46A currently operates out of McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas; Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.; Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire; Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, N.J.; and Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.