With the STC, the KC-46 programme has completed FAA certification, validating that the aircraft’s boom and drogue aerial refuelling systems have successfully met the authority’s requirements.
The aerial refuelling aircraft received the STC after the combined test team, comprising Boeing and the US Air Force (USAF), had completed a series of lab, ground and flight tests, which were started in 2015.
Boeing KC-46A tanker vice-president and programme manager Mike Gibbons said: “Our Boeing / USAF test team did an outstanding job successfully leading us through all the requirements, and we appreciate the FAA’s collaboration as well.
“This milestone is important in that it is one of the last major hurdles in advance of first delivery to the USAF.”
Being built at Boeing’s manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington, US, the KC-46 tanker has been designed based on the company’s commercial 767 airframe.
Once in service, the multi-role jet will be able to use its boom and hose and drogue systems to refuel the US, allied and coalition military aircraft.
In addition, the military aerial refuelling aircraft will be able to receive fuel from other tankers in order to extend its operational range.
In April, the KC-46 tanker programme successfully completed all required FAA STC flight tests following a successful refuelling / communications flight using a C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.
Boeing is currently under contract to provide the USAF with the first 34 of a fleet of 179 aerial refuelling tankers.