Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF) first KC-767 Tanker has resumed flight testing following the completion of scheduled ground modification work.
After departing Boeing Integrated Defense Systems facilities in Wichita, Kan. Aug. 21, the aircrew performed a series of functional checks during the three-hour flight. The flight allows the aircraft to begin additional certification testing requested by the customer.
"Our team is squarely focused on meeting our Japan customer's needs by resuming flight test activities, resolving some flight deck communications issues and expanding the FAA certifications already received for this tanker aircraft," said George Hildebrand, Boeing KC-767 Japan program manager. "We'll also provide upgrades to their night aerial refueling operations lighting system, allowing for greater visibility when refueling other aircraft."
Prior to the month-long modification work that included a series of wiring system upgrades, the first tanker for Japan successfully completed auxiliary power unit testing to support extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS). Since the Aug. 21 flight, Boeing has completed four subsequent test flights and is scheduled to deliver the aircraft in the first quarter of 2008.
The Japan KC-767 Tanker, a military derivative of the proven 767-200 commercial airplane, was selected over its competitor, the Airbus A-310, in a direct competition in 2001. It has been configured with a fifth-generation air refueling boom and the Remote Aerial Refueling Operator (RARO II) system.
Under contract to receive four KC-767 Tankers, the JASDF has selected the convertible freighter configuration, which will provide flexibility in carrying cargo or passengers, while maintaining its primary role as an aerial tanker.
Boeing has logged 273 flights and 806 hours on the KC-767 Tanker for Italy and Japan. Since the beginning of 2007, the company has demonstrated its advanced refueling systems by transferring fuel through its fifth-generation boom to multiple receiver aircraft, and extending and retracting refueling hoses from the wing aerial refueling pods and centerline Hose Drum Unit.
In addition to flight-testing the KC-767 for international customers, Boeing is offering the KC-767 Advanced Tanker for the U.S. Air Force's KC-X Tanker competition.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.4 billion business with 72,000 employees worldwide.