The fourth and final test aircraft has joined the KC-46 Pegasus fleet after a 767-2C, known as EMD-3, completed its first flight April 25, according to a Boeing release. The 767-2C—a KC-46 without the aerial refueling system—took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., and flew for one hour and 40 minutes, reaching a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet before landing at Boeing Field, south of Seattle. It will be used for environmental control system testing. Of the four Pegasus test aircraft, two are 767-2Cs, both of which will later become KC-46 tankers. EMD-1, the first 767-2C, has flown more than 300 test hours since its maiden flight in December 2014. The first full KC-46 tanker has successfully refueled an F-16C, F/A-18, and AV-8B since its first flight in September 2015. The second KC-46A complete?d its first flight in early March.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.