Dec 17, 2014

USAF Tanker Platform Slated For Dec. 27 Year-end Debut

Boeing is planning for first flight of its 767-2C – upon which the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker will be based – by year’s end, six months late.
The delay is due to a poor design by Boeing for the wiring bundles needed for the aircraft. The original design lacked required safe separation for some of the wiring as required by the Air Force; Boeing discovered the problem and reported it to the government.
The first flight test window for the 767-2C – which includes wiring, plumbing, doors and floors – is set for Dec. 27 with a backup one day later.
This first flight for engineering and manufacturing development (EMD)-1 aircraft is critical toward the next first flight milestone. EMD-2, the first fully configured KC-46 aerial refueler, is slated to take to the skies in April.
Any delay to this first KC-46A flight past April jeopardizes the schedule for a milestone production decision expected by Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall in September. The September decision would clear the way for the first two low-rate initial production lots of seven and 12 aircraft, respectively.
These milestones are included in a new test plan being crafted by Boeing, which won the tanker contact in 2011 over an Airbus A330-based design.
Boeing has already begun testing its new boom design in a wet fuel system integrated laboratory.

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