Boeing completes successful test flight for USAF’s KC-46 programme
Boeing has completed a successful test flight for the US Air Force KC-46 tanker test programme.
The engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the programme used a Boeing 767-2C, which flew from Paine Field, Washington and landed at the Boeing field in Seattle after a successful flight for three hours and 32 minutes.
The 767-2C freighter aircraft is only an initial step in the KC-46 Pegasus development programme.
The model is to undergo multiple finishing work at the Boeing facility, which will include installation of the refuelling boom and other military specific equipment.
Following the tests, the KC-46 is likely to have its first flight in the spring of 2015.
Boeing is expected to deliver the first 18 of 179 KC-46 aircraft to the air force by 2017.
The aircraft manufacturer is building four test aircraft, two 767-2Cs and two KC-46A tankers, for the federal air force, according to a contract which was signed in 2011.
Air Force Life Cycle Management Center programme executive officer for tankers brigadier general Duke Z. Richardson said: "Getting in the air is a critical step in the development of this important capability for the warfighter.
"The team at Boeing has done a remarkable job creating an entirely new aircraft that will soon become the backbone of our ability to project power anywhere in the world."
KC-46 system programme manager colonel Christopher Coombs said: "Today's flight is a key step in the next generation of tankers.
"We know flight testing will lead to some discovery, today's flight kick-starts that work.
"There is an aggressive schedule going forward into the Milestone C decision point for approval to start Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), but we remain cautiously optimistic we can meet the mark."
Image: KC-46 is likely to have its first flight in spring of 2015. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.