Boeing is working to complete a U.S. Air Force order of four test aircraft for delivery by the third quarter of 2014.
The defense contractor said Tuesday it has begun assembling the third KC-46A military aerial refueling aircraft at its Everett, Wash., factory.
“Our teams are maintaining their focus on quality and productivity as we move the first tankers through production,” said Scott Campbell, vice president and general manager of the 767 program, the airframe used for the KC-46A.
Initial flight tests will begin early next year and production models are slated to roll out in 2016 in order to deliver the 18 tankers to the Air Force in 2017.
Boeing is looking to build 179 tankers by 2027 under contract if all options are exercised.