Boe­ing, Air Force test team com­pletes first KC46 to KC-46 re­fu­elling

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE -

Boe­ing-US Air Force test team re­cently re­fu­eled a KC-46A tanker from an­other KC-46A tanker for the first time. Dur­ing the four-hour flight, the two air­craft suc­cess­fully re­fu­eled each other and achieved the max­i­mum fuel off­load rate of 1,200 gal­lons per minute. The pro­gram’s first and sec­ond tankers trans­ferred a to­tal of 38,100 pounds of fuel over the course of the flight. Both air­craft took off and landed at Boe­ing Field, south of Seat­tle.

The mile­stone flight helps pave the way for the next phases of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and spec­i­fi­ca­tion com­pli­ance test­ing.

The KC-46 will re­fuel US, al­lied and coali­tion mil­i­tary air­craft us­ing both its boom and hose and drogue sys­tems. The boom al­lows the tanker to trans­fer up to 1,200 gal­lons of fuel per minute, while the plane’s hose and drogue sys­tems, lo­cated on both the plane’s wing and cen­ter­line, en­ables the KC-46 to re­fuel smaller air­craft with up to 400 gal­lons of fuel per minute.

To date, the pro­gramme’s test air­craft have com­pleted 2,000 flight hours and more than 1,300 con­tacts dur­ing re­fu­el­ing flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10 and KC-10 air­craft.

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