Boeing is targeting the third quarter for the maiden flight of a 767-2C “provisioned freighter” that will become one of the first U.S. Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling tankers. The company acknowledged encountering what it described as typical issues in the tanker’s development, and that it slipped an internal goal to fly the aircraft for the first time in June.
Boeing will seek two separate certifications from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its new KC-46A tanker, the commercial 767 derivative it is developing for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). The manufacturer will first apply for an amended type certificate from the FAA for a 767-2C “provisioned freighter” without the aerial refueling components and military avionics planned for the tanker. It will then seek a supplemental type certificate (STC) for a fully equipped KC-46A.
Following Israeli requests for advanced defense equipment, the U.S. has agreed “an unprecedented release of capabilities,” according to a senior Pentagon official. Israel will receive Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotors; KC-135 tankers; AESA radar retrofits for its F-15 and F-16 fighters; and anti-radiation missiles. The new approvals were made public during U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit to Israel and other countries in the Middle East this week.
The recent comprehensive preliminary design review for the KC-46 tanker uncovered no significant issues beyond what was known from the three reviews already conducted since the engineering manufacturing and development (EMD) contract was signed in February 2011, according to Chuck Johnson, Boeing vice president for mobility. “We are a low-risk program being managed as moderate risk,” he told journalists in Washington last month.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) advises that “prudence and strong management attention” are required during the development phase of the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker. In a report to Congress, the GAO repeated concerns expressed last fall that the program faces schedule and technical risks.
Having delivered a pod-equipped Boeing 767 multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) to the Colombian air force in late 2010, IAI’s Bedek Aircraft division has now added a flying boom option to its MMTT offering. The design of the boom has been finalized and testing completed. The boom is an IAI-designed fly-by-wire (FBW) unit controlled from a remote air refueling operator’s station on the flight deck.
Citing defense spending cuts and declining prospects for new business, Boeing said on January 4 that it will close its military modifications and maintenance operations in Wichita by the end of 2013, dealing another blow to a city reeling from the downturn in business aircraft manufacturing.
Prominent U.S. defense programs are feeling pressure from more than just Congress and Pentagon cost police. Before and during the Paris Air Show, Boeing’s KC-46A tanker and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II faced flak from the aviation press and, in the latter case, an ally’s speech.
Boeing finally released significant detail on the U.S. Air Force KC-46 Tanker, and a list of the major suppliers, at the Paris Air Show yesterday.
Since winning the $4 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force for development and engineering of the KC-X refuelling tanker last February, Boeing has provided only generalities on the design of its KC-46A. Last week, during a series of media briefings in Philadelphia and St.
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