Boeing Taps Leonardo DRS for US Air Force’s Pegasus Aerial Refueling Stations

Boeing has awarded Leonardo DRS a contract to build and deliver upgraded aerial refueling operator stations (AROS 2.0) for the US Air Force’s upcoming KC-46 Pegasus refueling tanker aircraft.

The AROS platform enables refueling operators to perform associated tasks while seated near the cockpit and other crew members for convenient coordination.

It was developed to replace the traditional approach of utilizing a single boom attached to the vehicle’s tail and overseeing through a window.

AROS 2.0 is a modernized version of DRS’ first-generation facilities, with over 85 consoles fielded to date. It will have a two-seat operating setup at the front of the aircraft and separate displays to monitor all personnel.

Work for the contract will be performed at the company’s factory in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

E-4B Nightwatch
A KC-46 Pegasus and an E-4B Nightwatch in an aerial refueling position. Photo: Christian Turner/US Air Force

“We are very proud to again be the provider of this critical system that ensures aircrew refuelers are given the best available technology to perform this challenging mission,” Leonardo DRS Naval Electronics SVP Cari Ossenfort stated.

“We will continue to provide agile service and quality products to support these critical operators. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Boeing in support of the US Air Force.”

Expanding US Pegasus Fleet

The agreement followed the US Air Force’s announcement of a $2.3-billion order with Boeing for 15 additional KC-46A Pegasus aircraft in November 2023.

Another agreement was signed in 2022 for 15 KC-46As. In 2021, Boeing received two separate contracts for 27 more Pegasus tankers.

The US Air Force received the first KC-46A in August 2023 after a long delay due to quality concerns.

KC-46A Pegasus
The 157th Air Refueling Wing guides a KC-46A Pegasus as it receives fuel from another Pease KC-46A during a 36-hour endurance mission. Photo: Senior Master Sgt. Timm Huffman/US Air Force

Recent KC-46 Projects

Boeing signed a $184-million deal in April 2023 to revamp the communication solutions of the American KC-46A Pegasus tankers.

In 2022, the company received $398 million to supply two KC-46 aircraft to Japan.

In March 2020, the US government approved a $2.4-billion foreign military sale of up to eight Pegasus units to Israel.

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