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KC-46 Tanker Program Completes Successful Test Flight

January 6, 2015

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A provisioned 767-2C freighter took off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, on December 28, marking the first flight for the KC-46A Pegasus engineering, manufacturing, and development program. The aircraft, which is “the critical building block for the KC-46 missionized aerial refueler,” took off around 9:30 a.m. and landed three hours and 32 minutes later at Boeing Field, according to a Boeing release.

Boeing must still complete additional modifications, including installing the refueling boom and other military-specific equipment, which are to be completed in time for the first flight of a KC-46 (EMD #2) this spring. “We know flight testing will lead to some discovery; today’s flight kick-starts that work. There is an aggressive schedule going forward into Milestone C decision point for approval to start low rate initial production, but we remain cautiously optimistic we can meet the mark,” said Col. Christopher Coombs, the KC-46 system program manager, in an Air Force release.

Under a 2011 contract, Boeing will build four test aircraft, including two 767-2Cs and two KC-46As. The Air Force intends to procure a total of 179 Pegasus aircraft by 2027, of which the first 18 are to be delivered by August 2017.

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