McConnell KC-46 joins Dubai Airshow 2021

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  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 22nd Air Refueling Wing returns to the international stage by bringing a KC-46A Pegasus to the Dubai Airshow 2021, Nov. 14-18 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

A combined team from McConnell’s 22nd Operations Group, 344th Air Refueling Squadron, 22nd Operations Support Squadron, 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 22nd AMXS flew a KC-46A Pegasus to Dubai, for the KC-46 to be on static display as part of a larger Department of Defense presence at the event. 

“Showcasing key aircraft such as the KC-46 allows the Air Force to promote regional U.S. national security objectives, display U.S. military hardware to partners in the region, and demonstrate U.S. contributions to regional stability,” said Maj. Phil Krauss, 344th ARS assistant operations officer and the mission’s aircraft commander.

Dubai becomes the world’s aviation hub for a week, as the Dubai Airshow is the biggest aviation business event in the Middle East and the third biggest airshow in the world. According to Dubai Airshow officials, the Dubai Airshow 2021 features 1,200 exhibitors from 148 countries, more than 80,000 trade visitors and 161 aircraft on display.

Select military aircraft for the air forces of the UAE, India and France are also on display, along with fixed-wing and rotary-wing assets from a host of U.S. and international aircraft manufacturers. Complementing the aviation assets are exhibits from a wide range of aviation and space support providers, as well as roundtable events, speakers and presentations.

The United States’ presence at the Dubai Airshow was not limited to the nation’s newest multi-role tanker. Other American military aircraft on display in Dubai include an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a C-130J Super Hercules, an HC-130J Combat King II and an E-11A. The presence of U.S. aircraft help to build upon our strong relationship with the United Arab Emirates and enhance our relationships with other allies and partners in the region.

This is the KC-46’s second appearance at the Dubai Airshow. The KC-46 made its Dubai debut at the 2019 rendition of this airshow, as part of a larger effort which included a 22d ARW crew flying the KC-46’s first global circumnavigation mission. This time, it wasn’t an around-the-world route, but still provided valuable operational experience for the team. Additionally, the McConnell team conducted a reenlistment ceremony en-route, during the lengthy overseas flight.

The KC-46 has flown more than 6,000 missions since the delivery of the Air Force’s first aircraft on Jan. 25, 2019, and has been busy ever since.  KC-46s have offloaded more than 34 million pounds of fuel and made more than 26,000 boom and 1,500 drogue contacts since then – numbers that are going up each day with the continued efforts of Team McConnell aircrews.