Boeing has completed the flight tests of its KC-46 aircraft for a Federal Aviation Administration certificate after a refueling and communications exercise with a C-17 Globemaster III.
The company said Thursday it will submit the flight test data and results for the FAA’s review for the award of the Supplemental Type Certificate.
The STC tests for the KC-46 included the validation of the boom and drogue systems for aerial refueling with several aircraft; the demonstration of the platform’s fuel in-take from KC-135, KC-10 and other KC-46s and the assessment of the aircraft’s night and day lighting, defensive components and avionics.
Boeing is under contract for the production of the first 34 of a potential 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force and has collaborated with the service branch for the tests.
The STC is one of two certifications of airworthiness from the FAA required for U.S. defense and covers the military systems installed on Boeing’s 767-2C platform for the tanker configuration of the aircraft.
The FAA awarded the company in December the Amended Type Certificate for the core configuration of the 767-2C platform that is a modification of Boeing’s commercial 767.
Six aircraft were involved in the ATC and STC tests and have collectively logged 2,900 flight hours and more than 2,500 contacts during aerial refueling demonstrations with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 platforms.
The company aims to develop the KC-46A for multirole tanker missions including the transport of passengers, cargo and patients.
The KC-46A will be designed for compatibility with international aerial refueling procedures in support of allied and coalition military aircraft.