has opened a centre for assembling refueling booms for US Air Force KC-46
aerial tankers and is beginning work on the first unit.
The assembly line is located at Boeing Field in
Seattle and opened last week.
“The KC-46A will feature a modernised fly-by-wire boom based on the proven
system on the US Air Force's KC-10 tanker, which will give it advanced
refueling capabilities, allowing it to refuel any fixed-wing receiver aircraft
anytime and on any mission,” Maureen Dougherty, KC-46 vice president and
program manager for Boeing said.
The first boom will enter testing during the third quarter of 2013 at a System
Integration Lab, known as SIL 0.
Boeing's KC-46 program remains on track to deliver 18
combat-ready tankers by 2017, and for the next major US Air Force contract
milestone, the Critical Design Review, scheduled for the summer of 2013.
Production of the KC-46 aircraft begins next summer in Boeing's Everett,
The aircraft will be a 767-2C variant of the commercial 767-200ER aircraft.
Boeing will build 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft to begin
replacing the US Air Force's aging KC-135 tankers.