The first Boeing [NYSE:BA] KC-767A tanker, scheduled for delivery to the Italian air force in mid-2007, recently completed ground vibration testing at the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Structural Dynamics Laboratory in Everett, Wash.
"These tests determined the structural interaction between the aircraft and the aerial-refueling boom, and now we're one step closer to testing the tanker's refueling systems during flight," said Keith Branch, KC-767 flight test manager. "Boeing will deliver integrated avionics and advanced communications, a high-tech boom operator station enabled by cameras and a combination passenger and cargo transport capability to the Italian air force."
While undergoing modification at the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita, Kan., the Global Tanker Team equipped the commercial derivative airplane with a boom, a Remote Aerial Refueling Operators (RARO II) station, centerline hose-and-drogue refueling systems and a refueling receptacle.
Over the past several months, Boeing has achieved several flight test program milestones, including significant progress on ground and in-flight smoke detection and penetration testing. Flight test crews also have successfully integrated the RARO II station and the advanced refueling boom.
Since its first flight on May 21, 2005, followed by its international debut at the 2005 Paris Air Show, the KC-767A has flown nearly 70 flights and logged more than 250 hours as part of an extensive flight test and aerial refueling certification program.
In addition to flight testing the first KC-767A, Boeing and its Global Tanker Team will transform seven other 767s into tankers at its facilities in Wichita and the Aeronavali Modification Center near Naples, Italy. Japan will receive the first of four KC-767s at the end of 2006, and Italy will receive the first of four tankers in 2007.
The KC-767 Global Tanker is a fuel-efficient, long-range aircraft specifically sized for diverse air-refueling; cargo, troop and passenger transport; and aeromedical evacuation missions.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.8 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer; a foremost developer of advanced concepts and technologies; a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.