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C4iSR: Air

KC-46A tanker completes EMP testing

28 July 2017

Boeing has completed electromagnetic testing of its KC-46A Pegasus tanker to test and evaluate the aircraft’s electromagnetic pulse (EMP) protection while in flight.

A pair of KC-46A tankers at Boeing's Paine Field facility near Seattle. The company is to deliver 179 of the aircraft to the USAF under the KC-X programme. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)A pair of KC-46A tankers at Boeing's Paine Field facility near Seattle. The company is to deliver 179 of the aircraft to the USAF under the KC-X programme. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

The test, which was announced by Boeing on 27 July, took place at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland and involved representatives from the US Air Force (USAF) and the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).

During tests on the EMP pad at NAS Patuxent River, the programme’s second low-rate initial production KC-46 received pulses from a large coil/transformer situated above the aircraft.

“This testing evaluates the aircraft’s ability to safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers, and other systems under mission conditions,” a company statement read, with KC-46 vice-president and programme manager Mike Gibbons adding, “The KC-46 tanker is protected by various hardening and shielding technologies designed in to the aircraft to negate any effects on the aircraft. This successful effort retires one of the key risks on the programme.”

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