- The Pentagon’s office of operational test and evaluation says the Air Force’s new KC-46A Pegasus tanker may not be fully resistant to an electromagnetic pulse.
- The Air Force and Boeing should conduct more tests to determine the survivability of the tanker’s systems, the office says.
- The Air Force and Boeing have said the aircraft passed EMP testing as mandated by the established KC-46 testing plan.
The Air Force’s and Boeing’s development of the new KC-46A Pegasus tanker has been waylaid by cost overruns and operational issues over the past several years.
Officials from the Air Force and Boeing have said that significant lingering problems, like contact between the KC-46’s refueling boom and the receiving aircraft during refueling, are expected to be resolved this year, ahead of Boeing’s October deadline to deliver 18 of the new tankers.
However, a report from the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation has cautioned that while the KC-46’s most important systems could operate under EMP conditions, its operational capabilities in such a scenario have not been fully tested.
“While testing indicated the KC-46A flight-critical systems and boom refueling systems are likely survivable to the 6 decibel (dB) contractual requirement, the Program Office approved verification plan did not demonstrate the residual KC-46A mission systems capability during such an event,” according to the report, which covers fiscal year 2017 and was released last week.
“The program uninstalled or deactivated multiple mission critical systems prior to testing and, therefore, their EMP tolerance was not tested on an aircraft in a mission-representative configuration,” the DOT&E report said. “The program pre-deployed the refueling boom with hydraulics deactivated for the EMP test and therefore the capability to deliver fuel during or immediately following the EMP event was not tested.”
<img src="http://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5a26d7bff914c355018b800e-1600/160718-f-cu844-001.jpg" alt="US Air Force KC-46 Pegasus refueling tanker A-10 Read More Here