Boeing’s KC-46 tanker programme has successfully completed all required Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) flight tests.
The flight tests have been conducted following a successful refuelling / communications flight with a C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.
Being one of two required FAA airworthiness certifications, the STC involves evaluation of the military systems installed on the Boeing 767-2C aircraft to make it a tanker.
The company will now have to submit the resulting data and reports to the US FAA for review in advance of the STC award.
Under the STC flight tests, a combined test team formed by Boeing and the US Air Force (USAF) evaluated both the boom and drogue systems for aerial refuelling with multiple receiver aircraft.
The team also demonstrated the KC-46’s capability of taking on fuel from KC-135, KC-10 and other KC-46 tankers, in addition to conducting night and day lighting tests, and testing the aircraft defensive systems and avionics.
KC-46 test programme manager Jeanette Croppi said: “While the majority of our testing was conducted out of Boeing Field in Seattle, we connected with assets out of Nellis and Edwards Air Force Bases and also travelled to Naval Air Station Patuxent River for centreline drogue system testing.”
Developed by Boeing, the KC-46A is a multi-role tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures, while it can carry passengers, cargo and patients.
The aircraft, derived from the commercial 767 airframe, is constructed in the company’s manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington, US.
Boeing is currently under contract to deliver the first 34 of a fleet of 179 tankers to the USAF.