Boeing received a $159 million contract from the US Air Force to build a second KC-46A tanker for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

The aerial refueling tanker will be manufactured in Seattle and is expected to be completed by 30 June 2021. In December 2017, the USAF awarded Boeing a $279 million contract to produce Japan's first KC-46 tanker aircraft.

The tankers are part of a foreign military sales agreement that the US State Department approved in 2016, allowing the government of Japan to buy four KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft. At the time, the deal for the aircraft and related equipment, training, and support was estimated to be worth $1.9 billion.

KC-46 refuels A-10 640

Boeing KC-46A refuels A-10 during testing


The KC-46A is based on the Boeing 767-2CA, the commercial freighter version of the Boeing 767-200. The aircraft can also be used to transport passengers, cargo or medical patients.

Japan also has four KC-767J tankers in service, a military aerial tanker version of the Boeing 767-200ER commercial airliner. Those aircraft have an average age of 11.9 years old, according to FlightGlobal’s Fleets Analyzer.

The initial Japanese KC-46A tanker is schedule to be delivered in 2020, though it could be delayed as Boeing has struggled to gain certifications and make deliveries to its main tanker customer the USAF. Boeing says that it will make its first KC-46A delivery to the USAF this December.