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Boeing's KC-46A tanker aircraft performed first flight with refuelling boom and wing pods.


| 2015
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World Defense & Security News - Boeing Defense
 
 
 
Boeing's KC-46A tanker aircraft performed first flight with refuelling boom and wing pods
 
The US Air Force's first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft completed its first airworthiness flight equipped with an aerial refuelling boom and refuelling wing pods on 2 June, the US-based company Boeing announced. The aircraft performed a 4.3h flight from Boeing Field to Paine Field in Washington state.
     
The US Air Force's first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft completed its first airworthiness flight equipped with an aerial refuelling boom and refuelling wing pods on 2 June, the US-based company Boeing announced. The aircraft performed a 4.3h flight from Boeing Field to Paine Field in Washington state. Boeing KC-46A/EMD1 test aircraft performing first flight with aerial refuelling boom and wing pods
     
On Tuesday’s flight, the prototype for the first time carried a refueling boom, a rigid tube extended back from the plane’s underside that’s used to pass fuel to an aircraft flying behind and below the tanker. The prototype was also fitted with wing-refueling pods, which are used to refuel aircraft with different in-flight fuel-docking systems that fly behind and to the side of the tanker.

This equipment was not wired up and was not functional. However, the flight provided data on how these external attachments affect the jet’s behavior.

The EMD1 is an interim model, a 767-2C, and not the final version, the KC-46A Pegasus, which will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force.

Boeing is doing ground testing on the second test aircraft. That plane, called EMD2, will be the first finished KC-46 airplane.

That first KC-46 tanker is slated to take its first flight sometime this summer, but Boeing isn't giving any more details than that.

Design and production issues have delayed the program's test flight schedule by more than six months. Boeing says it can still do all necessary tests and still meet its contract deadline to deliver 18 combat-ready tankers to the Air Force by August 2017. Those planes will include the program's four test planes. EMD3 and EMD4 are still in production.

Boeing has fixed more than one third of the software problems, Boeing said. “We have a plan in place to address those issues," unveiled Boeing's representative.

The aerospace giant has a design and development contract with the Air Force to deliver the initial batch of 18 aircraft. The Air Force has to make a decision this fall on whether to commence full production. In all, the Pentagon is expected to order 179 tankers as the first phase in overhauling its aging aerial refueling tanker fleet.

South Korea's military is considering ordering a handful of tankers from either Boeing or Airbus. It could announce its decision in June, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported this week.

 

 

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