Japanese crews have begun training on the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker ahead of the planned commencement of deliveries later in the year.
Japanese airmen have joined their US counterparts for KC-46A training at Altus AFB, ahead of the commencement of aircraft deliveries later in the year. (US Air Force)
The first cadre of 12 Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) students from the service's 405th Air Refuelling Squadron (ARS) recently undertook KC-46A instruction at Altus Air Force Base (AFB) in Oklahoma, in preparation for the arrival of four tanker-transports currently on order. The 405th ARS was stood up in December 2020 as the JASDF's first KC-46A unit, with the initial students comprising six pilots and six boom operators.
“Over the course of three months, the JASDF students went through the same training that US airmen go through to be fully qualified to operate the KC-46,” the US Air Force (USAF) said. “The curriculum started with an academic phase where the students attended up to four classes daily. During the second phase, they focused on simulators and performed pre-briefs and debriefs. During the third phase, the students completed eight flights and a check ride with one of the [USAF] 56th Air Refueling Squadron instructors to finalise their training.”
The JASDF is to receive four KC-46A tankers, with the type having been selected under its KC-X aerial refuelling competition to augment the service's fleet of four Boeing KC-767J platforms in October 2015. The total value of the procurement is expected to be USD1.9 billion.