|KC-46A Tanker. Photo: Boeing
[Avionics Today 08-19-2016] The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing $2.8 billion on Aug. 18 for KC-46A tanker low-rate initial production. The award includes the first two production lots of seven and 12 planes, respectively, as well as spare parts. Including future options, Boeing plans to build a total of 179 of the 767-based refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace their KC-135 fleet.
This award follows a Defense Acquisition Board review and announcement that the KC-46 program completed Ã¢â¬ÅMilestone CÃ¢â¬Â Ã¢â¬â a set of required ground- and flight-test tests Ã¢â¬â and is approved for initial production. Those tests included refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, KC-10, C-17 and A-10 aircraft and a cargo handling demo.
Boeing received an initial contract in 2011 to design and develop the U.S. Air ForceÃ¢â¬â¢s next-generation tanker aircraft. As part of that contract, Boeing built four test aircraft, two configured as 767-2Cs and two as KC-46A tankers. The test aircraft have completed more than 1,000 flight hours to date. The company will begin delivering tankers to the Air Force in 2017.