Boeing's KC-46 tanker program completes planned Phase II receiver

Boeing has announced that, in cooperation with the US Air Force, crews have kicked off KC-46 receiver certification testing with F-16 aircraft, the company said.

The joint team has also completed testing with KC-135, C-17, A-10, KC-46, B-52, and F/A-18 aircraft.

Boeing said this accomplishment is a tribute to the Boeing/US Air Force team and helps set the stage for the start of Initial Operational Test & Evaluation testing next year.

During the certification flight tests, KC-46 and receiver aircraft flew at different airspeeds, altitudes and configurations to ensure compatibility and performance throughout the refueling envelope of each receiver. Now, the Air Force and the Aerial Refueling Certification Agency will review all test data and paperwork before ultimately certifying each aircraft.

Six test aircraft have now completed more than 3,700 flight hours and supplied more than four million pounds of fuel in flight to receiver aircraft.

Phase III receiver certification testing will be conducted by the Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in 2019. That testing will include additional receiver aircraft.

The KC-46, derived from Boeing´s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company´s Everett, Washington, facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the US Air Force.

The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.