Boeing KC-46A
Boeing KC-46A

Development of the Boeing KC-46A tanker for the United States Air Force has passed the halfway mark. According to Air Force Times, the aircraft will undergo its first test flight this summer.

The USAF is hoping to speed up the development process. As Air Force Times points out, the program is facing spiraling costs, delays, and the threat of sequestration.

“There’s always some risk in acquisition programs, and the KC-46A program is executing as well as any acquisition program that I’ve ever been involved in in 27 years,” Maj. Gen. John F. Thompson, the tanker’s executive program officer, said.

According to Air Force Times, the first aircraft to be tested will undergo ground testing, including vibration tests to assess its stability. It will be the first first for the USAF, but the 1,065th 767 airframe produced, according to Thompson. This will prove helpful during maintenance.

“Airmen will actually appreciate being able to conduct maintenance on aircraft that they know that the tech data and the FAA certification has literally been there for decades,” Thompson said.

As Air Force Times reports, the second aircraft will be transported from a factory in Everett, Wash. to a Boeing facility in Seattle for installation of additional military equipment.

The Boeing KC-46A is designed to replace the USAF’s KC-135 Stratotankers.

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