Boeing KC-46A tanker for U.S. Air Force completes first flight, airborne operational checks

EVERETT, Wash. The first Boeing (NYSE:BA) KC-46A tanker military aircraft, based on a commercial jet airframe, to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year has completed its first flight and airborne tests, taking off from Paine Field at 10:32 a.m. PST and landing more than three hours later.

Dec 6th, 2017
Boeing KC-46A tanker for U.S. Air Force completes first flight, airborne operational checks
Boeing KC-46A tanker for U.S. Air Force completes first flight, airborne operational checks

EVERETT, Wash. The first Boeing (NYSE:BA) KC-46A tanker military aircraft, based on a commercial jet airframe, to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year has completed its first flight and airborne tests, taking off from Paine Field at 10:32 a.m. PST and landing more than three hours later.

During the flight, Boeing test pilots took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls, and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. Prior to subsequent flights, the team will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation.

The first KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its maiden flight. During the three and one-half hour flight, pilots took the aircraft to 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems. The KC-46 is a multirole tanker than can refuel all allied and coalition aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients. (Photo by Marian Lockhart)

“We’re very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force,” explains Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities, but the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more.”

“Today’s flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter,” says Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.

The newest tanker is the KC-46 program’s seventh aircraft to fly to date. The previous six are being used for testing and certification and to date have completed 2,200 flight hours and more than 1,600 “contacts” during refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.

The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 34 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. 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.


The go-to resource for Intelligent Aerospace technology news & information:

Covering key topics
  • Avionics & Electronics in the Cockpit
  • Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity (IFEC) & Other Electronics in the Cabin
  • Satellite and Space, including satellite communications
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) & Airport Infrastructure
  • Engineering Design, Development, and Test
  • Maintenance, repair, and overhaul
  • Rotorcraft, including Helicopters, Tiltrotors & Innovative Vertical Lift Aircraft
  • Software, including Coding, Test, Verification, and More
  • Training & Simulation

  • Across all market segments
  • Commercial aviation
  • Military aviation
  • General aviation
  • Space

  • Subscribe to the free Intelligent Inbox e-newsletter

    Subscribe to receive all the latest aerospace technology news & information, delivered directly to your e-mail inbox twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Sign upfor your free subscription to the Intelligent Inbox e-newsletter at http://www.intelligent-aerospace.com/subscribe.html.

    Connect on social media

    Keep pace with aerospace innovation and opportunities via your favorite social media channels. Connect with Intelligent Aerospace on Twitter (@IntelligentAero), LinkedIn,Google+, and Instagram.

    Intelligent Aerospace, the global aerospace technology network, reports on the latest tools, technologies, and trends of vital importance to aerospace professionals throughout the industry and around the globe, including engineers, engineering managers, and other key decision-makers involved in the research & development, design, test, manufacture, maintenance, upgrade and retrofit, management, and acquisition of electronics hardware and software components, tools, and systems for commercial and military fixed-wing, rotor-wing, and unmanned aircraft, air traffic control, airport operations, satellites, and space.

    More in Commercial