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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Boeing KC-46A Aerial Refueling Tanker Assembly Begins

Boeing on Wednesday began assembly at its Everett, Wash., manufacturing facility of the first U.S. Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.

The KC-46A, a military variant of the Boeing 767-200ER, is a replacement for the U.S. Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers. Assembly began Wednesday with the loading of the first wing spar, the 82-foot main structural component of the wing that provides support for flight loads and the weight of the wing when the aircraft is not flying.

“From the enhanced flight deck to the modernized boom, our tanker will provide unequaled capabilities that will allow it to offload more fuel and carry more passengers, cargo and medical patients," said Maureen Dougherty, manager of the Boeing KC-46A program.

Next month Boeing will enter the program's next major contractual milestone, the Air Force's critical design review. In June 2014, the company will begin installing and testing military-unique systems on the aircraft.

Boeing expects to deliver the first 18 KC-46As to the Air Force by 2017.

Related: Aviation Today's Checklist

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