Sep 18, 2015
First functional Boeing KC-46A tanker to fly 25 September
Preparation for the first flight paused for 30 days after a chemical mixup contaminated the integrated fuel system and any schedule margin built into the programme is long gone.
Despite several setbacks and an almost one-year schedule delay, the second engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft, the first functional tanker, is in fuel dock after receiving repairs and should be airborne by the month’s end.
The first KC-46A is expected to start passing fuel in January or February 2016 after a few months of general flying.
As part of its test programme, the aircraft will pass fuel to a F-16, C-17, F/A-18, A-10, AV-8B and another KC-46A.
A “milestone C” production and fielding decision is expected in April 2016 and two contract awards for low-rate initial production will follow in quick succession. The first low-rate production contract is for seven aircraft and the second buys a dozen tankers.
EMD-1, the 767-2C freighter the tanker is based on, has completed flutter testing and EMD-4 is scheduled to begin ground demonstrations later this month. Mission system verification demonstrations will continued through November, according to the updated schedule.