KC-46A tanker aircraft

FlightSafety International has been awarded a contract to produce and deliver an aircrew training system (ATS) for the US Air Force’s (USAF) KC-46A aerial refuelling and strategic aircraft.

Valued at $78.3m, the competitively awarded fixed price incentive firm (FPIF) and firm fixed price (FFP) contract covers the supply of KC-46 weapon system, boom operator and part task trainers to the air force.

FlightSafety International president and CEO Bruce Whitman said that KC-46 crews will be provided with a quality training system using the company’s proven advanced technology training devices, visual systems and courseware.

KC-46 Tankers Program Executive Officer major general John Thompson said that the contract represents a significant step forward in the KC-46A development programme.

"We have reached an award that is the product of a disciplined, meticulous and transparent source selection and delivers real value for the warfighter," Thompson added.

"The contract represents a significant step forward in the KC-46A development programme."

Equipped with FlightSafety’s enhanced technology, including electric motion and control loading, as well as visual systems with all-new glass mirror display technology, the weapon system trainers are designed to support mission-specific training programmes to prepare aircrews to operate the new tanker.

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The company was selected against CAE, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Developed from Boeing 767-200ER, KC-46 is a military aerial refuelling and strategic transport aircraft, designed to replace the USAF’s ageing KC-135 Stratotankers fleet, which has served as its primary refuelling aircraft for over 50 years.

Currently under contract to deliver a total of 179 KC-46s to USAF by 2028, Boeing is set to conduct test flight of the first aircraft in late 2014.

Design and development work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out at the company’s simulation facility in Oklahoma, US, while deliveries to the formal training unit and operational air bases will commence in February 2016.

Image: An impression of KC-46A tanker refuelling a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during flight. Photo: Boeing image.

Defence Technology