Boeing and the U.S. Air Force team
successfully completed the first flight of a KC-46A tanker
aircraft on Friday (25 September 2015), taking off from Paine Field at 13:24 and
landing four hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle.
was the first flight of a KC-46A tanker-configured aircraft,
following ongoing flights of the programís first test aircraft, a
During the flight, Boeing test pilots performed
operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental
systems and took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 35,000 feet
prior to landing.
ďThis first tanker flight is a key
milestone for the program and weíll now begin free air stability
tests and flight controls of the boom and wing aerial refueling
pods (WARPs) before conducting aerial refueling tests where the
KC-46 will make contact with other military aircraft down the
road,Ē said Col. Christopher Coombs, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System
The Boeing team now will conduct a post-flight
inspection and calibrate instrumentation prior to the next series
of flights, during which the tanker boom and WARPs systems will be
Before the end of the year, the KC-46 will begin
conducting aerial refueling flights with a number of U.S. Air
Force aircraft. Those flights, along with the mission systems
demonstrations and a recently completed ground cargo handling
test, will support the planned Milestone C decision in 2016.
As part of a contract awarded in 2011 to design and develop
the U.S. Air Forceís next-generation tanker aircraft, Boeing is
building four test aircraft Ė two are currently configured as
767-2Cs and two KC-46A tankers.
The KC-46s will fly as fully
equipped tankers through the FAA and military certification
process, while the 767-2Cs enter flight test prior to receiving
their upgrade to the KC-46A configuration and the addition of
their aerial refueling systems.
The programís first test
aircraft (EMD-1), a 767-2C, has completed more than 150 flight
test hours to date since making its first flight in December 2014.
The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing is building for the
U.S. Air Force that can refuel all allied and coalition military
aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures
and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.
plans to build 179 KC-46 aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.
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