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McConnell’s 344th ARS delivers KC-46 to Japan

A KC-46A Pegasus departs to join the Japan Air Self-Defense Force fleet at Miho Air Base, Japan, Oct. 28, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The KC-46 was delivered by a 344th Air Refueling Squadron aircrew from McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The flight marked the first international delivery of the KC-46. (Courtesy Photo)

A KC-46A Pegasus departs to join the Japan Air Self-Defense Force fleet at Miho Air Base, Japan, Oct. 28, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The KC-46 was delivered by a 344th Air Refueling Squadron aircrew from McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The flight marked the first international delivery of the KC-46. (Courtesy Photo)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --

Airmen from the 344th Air Refueling Squadron delivered the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, their first KC-46A Pegasus from Boeing Headquarters in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 28, 2021.

The 344th ARS made history by delivering the first international KC-46. The delivery to JASDF bolstered their fleet by adding the next generation of air refueling aircraft to their fleet of four KC-767s.

“Its revolutionary refueling technology, robust defensive systems and ability to carry cargo and passengers makes it a critical tool to support humanitarian relief efforts across the Pacific and will play a key role in the security alliance between the two countries,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Richardson, 344th ARS Director of Operations.

The multi-role tanker can carry 18 military standardized pallets with a mix of passengers and cargo. The KC-46 is capable of carrying approximately 60,000 more pounds of fuel than the KC-767.

Japan’s acquisition of the KC-46 marks the beginning of an air refueling partnership between the United States and Japan for security alliance among the Pacific.