Boeing has subjected an aerial refueling aircraft under primary in-flight tests in preparation for its scheduled delivery to the U.S. Air Force in 2018.
The company said Tuesday its first operational KC-46A tanker completed its initial flight and airborne tests over 210 minutes at a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet.
Tests included engine, flight control and environmental systems operational checks in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration‘s approved flight profile.
Mike Gibbons, vice president and program manager for KC-46A at Boeing, said the tests will move the program toward further FAA certification activities.
KC-46A is designed for multirole use including passenger, cargo and patient transport and is geared to refuel allied and coalition aircraft that meet international aerial refueling procedures.
The tanker that completed the tests is the seventh aircraft from the KC-46 program to undergo flight tests, with the preceding six utilized for testing and certification and logging 2,200 flight hours and over 1,600 refueling contacts with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.
Boeing is currently under contract to produce 34 of potentially 179 Air Force aerial tankers.