Boeing flies first KC-46A tanker for US Air Force

Galtero Lara
Diciembre 7, 2017

The first Boeing KC-46A tanker plane, expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year, completed its first flight, the company has announced.

"Today's flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter", Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager, said in a press release.

Tests included engine, flight control and environmental systems operational checks in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration's approved flight profile.

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"We're very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force", said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. The team also undertook a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation before subsequent flights. The aircraft tested Tuesday is the seventh built as part of the KC-46 program, with the previous six being used for testing and certification. The earlier six are now being used for testing and certification, and have completed 2,200 flight hours and over 1,600 "contacts" during refuelling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.

KC-46A is designed for multirole use including passenger, cargo and patient transport and is geared to refuel allied and coalition aircraft that meet worldwide aerial refueling procedures. Boeing is now on contract for the first 34 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

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