Boeing [NYSE: BA] test pilots took off Tuesday from Everett, Wash., en route to Naples, Italy, in the third Boeing 767 destined for the Italian air force.
On arrival at the Aeronavali Modification Center near Naples, the airplane will be modified into the third KC-767A aerial tanker.
"Our industry Global Tanker Team will transform this aircraft from one of the commercial industry's finest jets into the most capable, multi-mission tankers in the world," said Mark McGraw, vice president, Boeing Tanker programs. "The KC-767A will help support the security needs of the Italian government and its allies for many years to come."
The first KC-767A tanker is undergoing a rigorous flight test and aerial refueling certification program at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' Wichita, Kan., facility.
"This is another significant program milestone," said Lt. Col. Roberto Poni, Italian air force liaison officer to the tanker program. "We believe that the KC-767A Tanker is the right choice for the Italian air force and that this aircraft will help us meet our future commitments."
The Global Tanker Team includes Boeing; Smiths Aerospace; Rockwell Collins; Vought Aircraft Industries; Aeronavali (a company of Alenia Aeronautica/Finmeccanica); Honeywell; GE Aircraft Engines and Pratt & Whitney. Currently, Boeing is building KC-767s for two major international customers -- Italy and Japan.
The KC-767A Global Tanker is a fuel-efficient, long-range aircraft specifically sized for diverse air-refueling; cargo, troop and passenger transport; and aeromedical evacuation missions.