USA — Japan

Boe­ing Com­pletes First KC-767 Tanker Night Refu­el­ing

Boeing - A Boeing KC-767 The Boe­ing Com­pa­ny [NYSE: BA] made KC-767 pro­gram his­to­ry Jan. 26 when one if its air­crews suc­cess­ful­ly trans­ferred fuel from a KC-767 tanker air­craft to an F‑15E at night — the first night­time refu­el­ing ever accom­plished on a KC-767.

The new tanker, sched­uled for deliv­ery to Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) ear­ly this year, depart­ed McConnell Air Force Base, adja­cent to the Boe­ing Inte­grat­ed Defense Sys­tems Wichi­ta, Kan., facil­i­ty, and flew a 3‑hour and 9 minute flight. Oper­at­ing in the skies over Mis­souri, the air­crew con­nect­ed the KC-767s fifth-gen­er­a­tion, fly-by-wire boom (a tele­scop­ing tube used to deliv­er fuel to mil­i­tary air­craft) to an F‑15E 11 times dur­ing dusk and night con­di­tions and suc­cess­ful­ly offloaded fuel before return­ing safe­ly. The com­pa­ny uses F‑15E1 under a coop­er­a­tive research and devel­op­ment agree­ment with the U.S. Air Force.

“Using our remote vision sys­tem, I was impressed with the qual­i­ty of the pic­ture and my abil­i­ty to accu­rate­ly see details of the F‑15E and its refu­el­ing recep­ta­cle at night,” said Rick­ey Kahler, Boe­ing KC-767 chief test boom oper­a­tor.

The Japan KC-767 Tanker, a mil­i­tary deriv­a­tive of the proven 767–200 com­mer­cial air­plane, was select­ed over its com­peti­tor, the Air­bus A‑310, in a direct com­pe­ti­tion in 2001.

Its advanced boom builds on the aero­dy­nam­ic shape and size of pre­vi­ous sys­tems and pro­vides more pre­cise and respon­sive con­trols to the oper­a­tor. With 2,600 few­er parts than pre­vi­ous booms, it also is eas­i­er to main­tain.

“This mile­stone high­light­ed the KC-767’s abil­i­ty to per­form refu­el­ing oper­a­tions under all light­ing con­di­tions and demon­strat­ed an upgrade to the light­ing sys­tem we promised our Japan cus­tomer,” said George Hilde­brand, Boe­ing KC-767 Japan pro­gram manager.“Our next step is to com­plete the remain­ing Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and deliv­er two new tankers to Japan ear­ly this year.”

Boe­ing has built near­ly 2,000 tankers in its his­to­ry and is under con­tract to build four KC-767s for Japan. The JASDF has select­ed the con­vert­ible freighter con­fig­u­ra­tion, which will pro­vide flex­i­bil­i­ty in car­ry­ing car­go or pas­sen­gers, while main­tain­ing its pri­ma­ry role as an aer­i­al tanker.

Boe­ing also is build­ing four KC-767s for Italy with deliv­ery of the first two tankers in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2008. To date, Boe­ing has logged more than 350 flights accu­mu­lat­ing more than 1,000 flight hours on the KC-767.

In addi­tion to flight-test­ing the KC-767 for inter­na­tion­al cus­tomers, Boe­ing is com­pet­ing for a con­tract to replace the U.S. Air Force’s KC-135 Tanker fleet. It has offered the KC-767 Advanced Tanker, and a deci­sion is expect­ed in the first quar­ter of 2008. Trans­fer­ring fuel through a boom, via the remote vision sys­tem dur­ing night­time con­di­tions, will sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce risk for future tanker cus­tomers like the U.S. Air Force.

Text- / Bildquelle (source): Boe­ing Cor­po­rate Offices
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