The U.S. Air Force has formally signed off a critical design review (CDR) for its next generation KC-46 tanker.
“This build and test phase is another critical step toward meeting the KC-46 contractual Required Assets Available date — a milestone requiring 18 KC-46 aircraft and all necessary support to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs by the August 2017 timeframe,” Maj. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force program executive officer for tankers, said in an Air Force statement. “To succeed will require the focused efforts from all members of the team.”
Based on Boeing’s 767-200ER commercial plane, the KC-46 program will produce 179 new planes to replace the aging KC-135 tanker fleet, with 18 tankers expected by 2017 and production ending in 2027.
“The KC-46A’s design is all about giving the warfighter an edge,” Maureen Dougherty, Boeing’s KC-46 program manager, said in a company statement. “The aircraft’s powerful, multi-role capabilities and high reliability will mean greater effectiveness and availability to meet more mission requirements.”
The program has hit a number of milestones this year, awarding a training contract in early May, choosing bases for the tankers later that month and beginning production on the first model in late June. Assembly of the second model aircraft began in August, putting the program on track to have four test aircraft assembled by the middle of next year.
Boeing recently announced that workers have begun assembly on the second of five test refueling booms for the program.
The company plans on using the first boom for risk-reduction lab tests starting in 2014, while the second will be installed and evaluated on a test aircraft, according to Defense News.
The U.S. Air Force officials have identified the new tanker as one of its three key modernization priorities, alongside the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and a new long-range bomber. The KC-46 program is the first part of a three-stage process that will eventually replace the entire US Air Force tanker fleet. USAF officials expect to begin work on the second step, known as the KC-Y, sometime next summer.
A decision on which bases will host the US Air Forces new KC-46 tanker program is coming before the end of May. Gen
Bennett Croswell, president of Pratt & Whitney's Military Engines division, and Maureen Dougherty, Boeing vice president and program manager, KC-46 Tanker Program, hosted a ceremonial engine contract signing event today at Boeing's Tanker Program Office in Mukilteo, Wash., for contracts previously awarded to Pratt & Whitney
Cobham has been awarded two subcontracts by Boeing related to the hose and drogue aerial refueling system that will be used by the US Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker aircraft. The contracts, valued in excess of $73 million, relate to the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program, including development hardware
The first flight of Boeings KC-46 tanker has been postponed November due to wiring bundle issue, which has costed an additioanl $272 million in the second quarter of 2014. Boeing has signed a $4
Pratt & Whitney today delivered the first PW4062 engines for the first KC-46 test aircraft during an event at Boeings Everett, WA, facility. "The PW4000 engine family that will power these aircraft has an exceptional track record of performance and dependability with numerous commercial customers operating the engine globally,” said Chandler
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