Boeing now has six aircraft in its KC-46 tanker
test program, expanding its ability to complete ground and
flight-test activities as it progresses toward first deliveries to
the U.S. Air Force.
The newest KC-46 aerial refueling aircraft, the
second low-rate initial production plane, completed its first
flight on 29 April 2017. Its test activities will help ensure the KC-46
can safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by
radars, radio towers and other systems.
“Adding another tanker will help us to become
even more efficient and significantly improve our ability to
complete test points going forward,” said Jeanette Croppi, Boeing
KC-46A tanker test team director. “We are also re-configuring one
of our 767-2C aircraft into a tanker, which means we soon will
have four KC-46 tankers in test.”
To date, the program’s test aircraft have
completed 1,600 flight hours and more than 1,200 “contacts” during
refueling flights with F- 16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10 and KC-10
The KC-46 is derived from Boeing’s commercial
The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel
all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with
international aerial refueling procedures and can carry
passengers, cargo and patients.
Boeing says it expects to build 179 tankers in
its Everett factory.
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