Boeing has secured a contract to supply the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) with its fifth and sixth KC-46A tankers.

The value of the contract for the two additional aircraft is $398 million, according to a US government contract announcement.


Source: Boeing


The sale, conducted under the US government’s Foreign Military Sales mechanism, is expected to be completed by 30 June 2025.

Overall, the total contract value for Tokyo’s six KC-46As is $1.3 billion. Tokyo received its first example in October 2021, and its second in February 2022.

“This additional KC-46A acquisition reinforces the US-Japan security alliance to support security and stability throughout the Pacific region,” says Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan.

“Boeing is proud of our enduring partnership with Japan, and we look forward to supporting the nation’s KC-46A fleet that will fly for decades to come.”

The type is derived from the 767 airliner, and Japanese companies produce 16% of the airframe.

In addition, the JASDF operates four older KC-767s. Cirium fleets data indicates that the average age of these aircraft is 15.9 years.

So far, Boeing has delivered 67 KC-46As, of which 65 have gone to the US Air Force and two to Japan. The other international customer for the type is Israel, with four examples on order.

In mid-November, a USAF Air Mobility Command crew flew a record-setting non-stop 14,000nm (25,928km) sortie with the KC-46A.

The aircraft departed the US East Coast city of Portsmouth (New Hampshire), flew west across North America to Hawaii, circled the central Pacific island of Guam and returned to Portsmouth.

During the mission, the aircraft received fuel three times from another KC-46 and offloaded fuel to multiple Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighters.

The Pentagon has hit Boeing with substantial financial penalties over delays and engineering failures on the KC-46 programme. The airframer is currently redesigning a new remove vision system following intractable problems with the original.

Nonetheless, in September the USAF cleared the KC-46A for worldwide combat duty.