EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., July 21, 2009Â — Two of the KC-767 aerial refueling tankers that Boeing [NYSE: BA] is building for the Italian Air Force recently performed a series of airborne boom contacts and fuel offloads in observation test flights with the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The flights included KC-767 fuel transfers with a U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft as well as from one KC-767 to the other.
The KC-767 tankers achieved the milestone contacts in late June during a successful Military Utility Observation (MUO) that demonstrated the tankers’ operational capabilities to refuel both a large receiver aircraft and a fighter aircraft using the KC-767 advanced aerial refueling boom and Remote Aerial Refueling Operator (RARO) station.
The MUO is contractually obligated by the Italian Air Force as part of the process required for delivery of the KC-767 tanker to Italy.
During the MUO, the two tankers performed familiarization flights for military personnel, including integrated U.S. and Italian Air Force pilots and boom operators, and also offloaded more than 100,000 pounds of fuel during 65 tanker-to-tanker contacts. Additionally, the tankers performed more than 100 day and night airborne boom contacts with the F-16 aircraft and transferred about 5,000 pounds of fuel.
“This is a key milestone for our International Tanker Program and our Italian customer as we near the end of development of the KC-767 tanker for the Italian Air Force,” said Dave Bowman, vice president and general manager of Boeing Tanker Programs. “The successful boom contacts and fuel offloads by both U.S. Air Force and Italian Air Force crews are additional examples of the outstanding capabilities of Boeing tankers.”
Boeing has three KC-767s in flight test for the Italian Air Force while building one additional tanker for this customer. In addition to the advanced aerial refueling boom and RARO station, the tankers feature wing pod and centerline hose-and-drogue systems. They are wide-body airlifters in a “combi” configuration, meaning the aircraft can be configured to carry all passengers, all cargo or a combination of both.