First Flight For Boeing KC-46 Tanker


The first flight of the KC-46 tanker test program was successfully completed on Sunday, Boeing and the U.S. Air Force have announced. The airplane, a Boeing 767-2C, took off from Paine Field, Washington, at 9:29 a.m. local time and landed three hours and 32 minutes later at Boeing Field. The jet is essentially a commercial 767 with modifications that include a 787-style cockpit and extra fuel tanks, but no military systems, according to the Seattle Times. Boeing is building four test aircraft — two 767-2Cs and two KC-46A tankers. According to Boeing’s website, the first delivery to the Air Force is expected in 2016, with 179 tankers delivered by 2027.

The contract, awarded in 2011, was reported at the time to be worth about $35 billion, and Boeing said the program would create 50,000 jobs in 40 states. The 767-2Cs enter flight test as commercial freighters prior to receiving their aerial refueling systems, while the KC-46s will fly as fully equipped tankers through the FAA and military certification process, Boeing said. The airplanes can carry cargo, passengers, and patients in addition to their role as aerial refuelers.