Boeing’s KC-46A Pegasus tanker refuels an F-15E aircraft during Phase II receiver certification testing out of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. A Boeing/U.S. Air Force team completed receiver certification with F-16, KC-135, C-17, A-10, KC-46, B-52, F/A-18 and F-15E aircraft. Photo, courtesy of Boeing.
Boeing’s KC-46A next-generation tanker program finished its Phase II receiver certification flight testing after a final set of tests, the company said Monday.
The latest flight tests lasted three weeks and were conducted with F-15E aircraft near Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The U.S. Air Force and Boeing started the program’s receiver certification testing in April with F-16s, and since then has conducted tests with the KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster, A-10 Warthog, KC-46 Pegasus, B-52 Stratofortress, and F/A-18 aircraft.
The flight tests involved the tanker and receiver aircraft flying at different airspeeds, altitudes, and configurations to guarantee compatibility and performance through the receivers’ refueling envelopes. The next step is for the Air Force and Aerial Refueling Certification Agency to review test data and paperwork before certifying each aircraft.
Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager, said finishing this round of test flights is setting the stage for the beginning of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) tests in 2019.
“We are seeing great progress in both test and production and expect the positive momentum to continue as we begin delivering aircraft,” he said in a statement.
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