A Boeing [NYSE: BA] aircrew completed the first flight of the second KC-767 for Japan Nov. 18 following an extensive modification that transformed it from a commercial airplane to a military tanker.
The new tanker lifted off from McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kan., adjacent to the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Wichita facility, and logged a two-hour and 41 minute flight before returning safely. It will be one of two KC-767s delivered to Japan in the first quarter of 2008.
"Completing our modification and first flight for Japan #2 is significant because we now have three international KC-767 tankers in flight at the same time," said Cliff Hall, director, Boeing International Tanker Programs. "This additional asset helps us reduce risk in our schedule and provides a clear path to meet our delivery commitments for 2008."
In addition to the first flight milestone, Boeing recently flight tested a newly designed pylon that attaches the Wing Air Refueling Pod (WARP) to each Italian KC-767 tanker wing. The company also completed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification testing for the KC-767 mission control system.
In the months ahead, Boeing will transfer fuel to a receiver aircraft using the Italian KC-767 WARP and centerline Hose Drum Unit (HDU) refueling systems, accomplish night refueling on the Japan tanker using the fifth-generation boom with upgraded software and complete any remaining FAA certifications.
Since the beginning of 2007, the company has demonstrated its advanced refueling technology by transferring fuel through its boom to multiple receiver aircraft, and extending and retracting refueling hoses from the WARP and HDU.
Boeing has built nearly 2,000 tankers in its history and is under contract to build four KC-767s for Japan. Boeing also is building four KC-767s for Italy with delivery of the first two tankers in the second quarter of 2008. To date, Boeing has logged more than 320 flights accumulating more than 900 flight hours on the KC-767.
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.