Earlier this week, Aero-News received word the first Boeing
KC-767A tanker -- the aerial-refueling spinoff of Boeing's 767
passenger plane -- has completed ground vibration testing at the
Boeing Commercial Airplanes Structural Dynamics Laboratory in
Everett, WA. The aircraft is scheduled for delivery to the Italian
air force in mid-2007.
"These tests determined the structural interaction between the
aircraft and the aerial-refueling boom, and now we're one step
closer to testing the tanker's refueling systems during flight,"
said Keith Branch, KC-767 flight test manager. "Boeing will deliver
integrated avionics and advanced communications, a high-tech boom
operator station enabled by cameras and a combination passenger and
cargo transport capability to the Italian air force."
While undergoing modification at the Boeing Integrated Defense
Systems facility in Wichita, KS the Global Tanker Team equipped the
commercial-spec airplane with a boom, a Remote Aerial Refueling
Operators (RARO II) station, centerline hose-and-drogue refueling
systems and a refueling receptacle.
Over the past several
months, Boeing has achieved several flight test program milestones,
including significant progress on ground and in-flight smoke
detection and penetration testing. Flight test crews also have
successfully integrated the RARO II station and the advanced
Boeing reports that since its first flight on May 21, 2005 --
followed by its international debut at the 2005 Paris Air Show --
the KC-767A has flown nearly 70 flights and logged more than 250
hours as part of an extensive flight test and aerial refueling
In addition to flight testing the first KC-767A, Boeing and its
Global Tanker Team will transform seven other 767s into tankers at
its facilities in Wichita and the Aeronavali Modification Center
near Naples, Italy. Japan will receive the first of four KC-767s at
the end of 2006, and Italy will receive the first of its four
tankers in 2007.