12 Dec 2017

Boeing KC-46A Tanker completes first flight

The first Boeing KC-46A tanker set to be delivered to the US Air Force next year has successfully completed its first flight and airborne tests.

During the flight, Boeing test pilots took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. Prior to subsequent flights, the team will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation.

Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker Vice President and Program Manager, said: “We’re very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force.

“We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities, but the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more.”

The newest tanker is the KC-46 program’s seventh aircraft to fly to date. The previous six are being used for testing and certification and so far have completed 2,200 flight hours and more than 1,600 contacts during refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.

Col. John Newberry, US Air Force KC-46 System Program Manager, said: “Today’s flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter.”

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