keesje wrote:The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is still not using its fleet of KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tankers to support combat operations, and will not for the foreseeable future except in response to "emergency need." This is despite the service recently touting that these aircraft can now "support 97 percent of the daily Joint Force air refueling demands" as part of what it calls an Interim Capability Release plan intended to help move the long-troubled jets toward a truly operational state.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/k ... hole-story
I assume every effort is made to get the KC46A fully operational and to keep this process out of the new tanker selection process, handle it as two separate topics.
The combat theater exclusion policy is well understood, despite the continued efforts of The War Zone to twist it into something else.
Boeing had said from the outset that the KC-46 RVS vision issues were limited to a small subset of operational conditions. That has now been proved out by the USAF ICR dispatch approvals for 97% of the fleet, with more to join in future. The approvals include restrictions to avoid those conditions, which are easily accommodated outside of combat.
In combat theaters, it might not be possible to avoid the prohibited conditions, so that creates an unnecessary risk, when other assets are able to fulfill those needs. That is the rational for the combat restrictions. They don't apply to the cases of exercise or training missions, which are allowed in combat theaters. The reasoning is the same for those cases.
It's because the KC-46 role is being expanded, that the need for a KC-Y competition is being questioned. The expanding role is the cause, not the effect.