Boeing has completed the Federal Aviation Administration's airworthiness accreditation for the KC-46 tanker program after the company received a supplemental type certificate for the aircraft.
The company said Tuesday its team kicked off in 2015 a series of ground, lab and flight tests to evaluate the performance of the aircraft's boom and drogue systems for aerial refueling missions.
“This milestone is important in that it is one of the last major hurdles in advance of first delivery to the U.S. Air Force,“ said Mike Gibbons, KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager at Boeing.
The company secured in December an amended type certificate from FAA for the 767-2C airframe configuration of KC-46 and expects the service to issue a military type certificate for the aircraft in the next few months.
Six KC-46 tankers have been fielded to support tests for the two certificates, STC and MTC, and have recorded a total of 3,500 flight hours to refuel various aircraft such as F/A-18 and F-16.
Boeing is contracted to deliver the first 34 KC-46As to the Air Force, which plans to procure a total of 179 aircraft.