KC-46A Boeing 767 Tanker 2017

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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Unread post06 Dec 2017, 08:22

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ce-443902/


Boeing flies first KC-46A tanker for US Air Force

05 December, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco

Washington DC
Boeing’s first KC-46A tanker slated for the US Air Force operational fleet made its maiden flight this week, pushing the aircraft closer to a newly-delayed, 2018 delivery. While Boeing has flown six other test articles, the newest 767-2C-based aircraft will be one of the first 18 inducted into the service next year. The USAF had expected Boeing to deliver the first KC-46 by the end of 2017. According to a Government Accountability Office report released in March, Boeing is expected to deliver the first 18 aircraft by February 2018, a seven-month slip from the previous delivery date.

- The Cobham wing aerial refueling pods (WARPs) will still be delivered separately in October, Boeing confirms.
- Part of Boeing’s schedule woes are attributed to delays in US Federal Aviation Administration certifications. The KC-46 requires both an amended type certification from the FAA for the baseline 767 with tanker provisions, and a supplemental type certification for the militarized variant. Boeing expects to wrap up work for the ATC by the end of 2017 and STC sometime next year 2018.
- But the KC-46 isn’t out of the woods just yet, Boeing must solve one outstanding deficiency identified on the tanker earlier this year. The USAF identified three “category 1 deficiencies” on KC-46, including the boom scraping problem that continues to plague the tanker today. Although legacy tankers have also scraped refueling aircraft, Boeing does not know how often the issue occurs on the KC-46 aircraft compared to older KC-135/ 10 aircraft.
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Unread post06 Dec 2017, 09:17

SECDEF casting a critical eye at the new tanker.

http://www.businessinsider.com/mattis-w ... am-2017-12
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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Unread post06 Dec 2017, 15:27

http://aviationweek.com/defense/first-o ... es-deliver

First Operational KC-46 Takes Flight As Boeing Races To Deliver

Dec 5, 2017
Lara Seligman

Boeing’s first KC-46 Pegasus tanker slated for delivery to the U.S. Air Force made its first flight Dec. 5, as the company finally acknowledged that the aircraft won’t be handed over to the service until 2018. First flight of the aircraft is a critical step in getting to delivery, and a welcome piece of good news as Boeing’s beleaguered tanker caps off another rocky year. A Boeing spokeswoman acknowledged to Aerospace DAILY what the Air Force has long projected—that the company will not begin delivering the long-anticipated aircraft until 2018. Boeing has a long way to go before delivery, including completing FAA certification of the aircraft, said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46 vice president and program manager, according to a company statement. "We still have some tough work ahead of us,” Gibbons said. “But the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more.”
The flight also comes on the heels of the discovery of additional technical challenges.

The Air Force revealed in September that it has identified three major deficiencies related to the refueling process that require resolution before it can begin using the KC-46 operationally. The two most worrying issues involve the tanker’s rigid refueling boom:

- un-commanded boom extensions when disconnecting from a receiver aircraft with fuel flowing

- a tendency of the boom to scrape the surface of receiving aircraft. The second problem could be a particular concern for stealth aircraft, such as the B-2 bomber, F-22 or F-35 fighters, if the boom causes damage to low-observable stealth coating.
...As one way to fix the scraping problem, Boeing is looking at upgrading the camera systems used for aerial refueling, an Air Force spokesman told Aerospace DAILY in September. The camera system in the new Pegasus tanker was the best the market offered in 2012 when the aircraft was being contracted, but is not the latest technology. In that case, Boeing would assume the cost of upgrading the camera system.

- Another issue is related to the KC-46’s high-frequency radios. HF radios use the skin of the aircraft as an antenna, which sometimes causes electrical sparks and arcs. The Air Force wants to make sure those radios are failsafe and can never transmit during the refueling process for fear of fires.

The Air Force says these issues are not showstoppers if they can be resolved easily and cheaply. But the team is still working through additional testing to figure out the best path forward.

Meanwhile, costs continue to rise, with Boeing seeing an additional $329 million charge related to KC-46 development in the third quarter of 2017 in addition to the more than $2 billion incurred since 2014. Time is running short for Boeing to meet its contractually obligated deadline of delivering 18 full-up tankers to the Air Force by October 2018. But despite the hiccups, delays and charges to Boeing, the deal is still relatively low-risk for the Air Force. The service’s financial obligations are capped at $4.9 billion, thanks to the fixed-price terms of the contract. The overall program is valued at about $44 billion for 179 tankers.
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Unread post22 Dec 2017, 03:33

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... on-444409/

Boeing KC-46 receives 767 certification

21 December, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco

Washington DC
Boeing expects to deliver the first KC-46 to the air force next year but first must receive two certifications from the US Federal Aviation Administration.
- The Boeing has received an amended type certificate for the 767-2C that serves as the baseline aircraft for conversion into the US Air Force KC-46A tanker, the company says.
- In addition to the amended certification for the 767-2C, the program is still working on qualifying for a supplemental type certification for the modifications required to convert the aircraft into a military tanker. “We continue to make good progress on the STC effort – 83% complete at present -- and have moved into the FAA flight testing phase,” Boeing KC-46 program manager Mike Gibbons says in a statement.

Prior to the 767 certification, Boeing completed a series of ground and flight tests focusing on the aircraft’s avionics, autoflight and environmental control systems, as well as its new fuel system. Boeing has six KC-46 test aircraft supporting the certification effort. So far, KC-46s have refueled four different fighters -- F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B and A-10 -- and three airlifters or tankers, including the C-17, KC-10 and other KC-46 aircraft. In a report last spring, the Government Accountability Office attributed some of the KC-46 program’s schedule delays to delayed FAA certifications.
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Unread post23 Dec 2017, 19:54

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/12 ... ilitaries/

Boeing scores big with ..KC-46 contracts with foreign militaries

By: Valerie Insinna  
23Dec17

WASHINGTON —
Two major contracts announced Friday, .. the first-ever international KC-46A tanker sale, will give Boeing a reason to celebrate this holiday season. ..

The Air Force also awarded a separate deal to Boeing for one KC-46 for Japan with a price tag of about $289 million. Boeing’s first sale of the KC-46 marked an important symbolic victory for the beleaguered tanker program, which has lagged in development and international sales compared to its closest competitor, the Airbus A330. Friday’s deal could signify the start of greater international buy-in to the program, something that Boeing officials see as critical for making the program profitable and the U.S. Air Force sees as important for enhancing interoperability with partner nations. “We are excited to partner with Boeing as we assist Japan in advancing its aerial refueling capabilities,” said Brig. Gen. Donna Shipton, program executive officer of tankers for the U.S. Air Force. “This is an important step in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and will enhance our interoperability with both nations flying KC-46s.” Boeing’s agreement with Japan includes one KC-46, the non-recurring engineering work necessary to build it to Japanese requirements and logistics support, according to the contract announcement. Work is expected to be complete in 2021. Importantly, the parties entered into a firm, fixed-price agreement for the KC-46, similar to Boeing’s current contract with the U.S. Air Force. That means that if Boeing is responsible for cost overruns, the company will have to pay for them.

The U.S. Air Force plans on buying 179 KC-46s. Boeing is contractually obligated to deliver the first 17 certified tankers to the service next October. Over the past several months, the tanker has run into technical issues — including a still unsolved problem with the tanker’s boom, which sometimes scratches the surface of the receiving aircraft. However, the program is making progress in other areas. The Federal Aviation Administration has certified the 767-2C, the modified 767 commercial plane that forms that basis of the KC-46, Boeing announced Thursday. The program still has to attain one final certificate for the aircraft’s military-specific equipment from the FAA. The State Department approved the KC-46 sale to Japan in September 2016, then estimated to have a value of $1.9 billion.
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….Japan has four existing aviation tankers;
"Delivery of the first KC-767J for the JASDF was delayed approximately two years due to development issues and the addition of the aircraft receiving FAA certification. The Japanese version of the tanker is equipped only with the boom refueling system. Boeing and its Japanese representative Itochu agreed with Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) to pay a penalty fee for the delivery delay, according to the MoD Statement.
- the first operational KC-767J was delivered to the JASDF on 19Feb2008
- the second KC-767J was delivered to the JASDF on 5Mar2008
- the third KC-767J was delivered to the JASDF on Mar2009
The three KC-767J aircraft reached initial operational capability (IOC) status with the JASDF in May2009.
- the fourth KC-767J was delivered to the JASDF on Jan2010
The aircraft are operated out of Komaki Air Base by 404th Tactical Airlift Tanker Squadron."
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Unread post26 Dec 2017, 19:05

https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/ ... e/1403876/

Release No: CR-247-17
Dec. 22, 2017

The Boeing Co., Defense, Space & Security, Seattle, Washington, has been awarded a $288,681,573 firm-fixed-price contract for one KC-46A aircraft for Japan. The face value is not-to-exceed $19,786,279. This contract provides for non-recurring engineering, integrated logistics support and one KC-46A aircraft modified to the Japan foreign military sales (FMS) configuration. Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington, with an expected completion date of Feb. 28, 2021. This contract involves 100 percent FMS to Japan, and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds in the amount of $278,590,571 are being obligated at the time of award. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8609-18-G-0002/FA8609-18-F-0006).
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Unread post26 Dec 2017, 19:11

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rd-444457/

The US Air Force has awarded Boeing a $279 million contract to produce Japan's first KC-46 tanker aircraft. The contract is a key step in Tokyo's development of a new tanker capability. The decision to obtain three KC-46s in the 2020 time frame was originally announced in 2015. The type will add to Japan's existing fleet of four KC-767J tankers. The KC-46 deal is being conducted under the auspices of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. “This milestone order highlights a valued partnership with Japan that spans more than six decades, and we look forward to continuing that collaboration on the KC-46 program,” says Brett Gerry, president of Boeing Japan. “The skilled Japanese KC-767 tanker and E-767 Airborne Warning and Control Systems pilots and maintenance personnel are already familiar with flying and supporting our highly efficient aircraft, and we look forward to helping them expand their capabilities in the future.”
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Unread post04 Jan 2018, 15:36

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2018 ... rd%20Brief

KC-46 refueling tanker receives one of two FAA certifications

By: Charlsy Panzino
3Jan18

The KC-46 refueling tanker has been deemed “safe and reliable,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Boeing announced on Dec. 21 that the FAA certified the 767-2C, which is the modified 767 commercial plane that forms the basis of the KC-46 Pegasus. The Amended Type Certificate verifies that the fundamental design of the tanker is safe.
To receive the certificate, Boeing’s team completed a series of analyses along with lab, ground and flight tests focusing on the aircraft’s avionics, auto-flight, environmental control systems and new fuel system, according to a Boeing news release. The results showed that all systems operated as intended.

It’s one of two airworthiness certifications required for the tanker program. Along with the Amended Type Certificate, the KC-46 needs the Supplemental Type Certificate, which focuses on the military-specific equipment that’s installed on the 767-2C aircraft to make it a tanker. Boeing has completed 2,200 flight hours with the KC-46, with more than 1,600 contacts during refueling flights with different aircraft, including the F-16, F/A-18 and C-17. The Air Force plans on buying 179 of the tankers, and Boeing is contractually obligated to deliver the first 18 certified aircraft by October.

Several deficiencies were discovered during KC-46 testing, including reports of the tanker’s boom scraping aircraft during mid-air refueling. The boom, which extends into a receptacle on the receiver aircraft, in some cases was making contact outside of the receptacle and scratching the receiving aircraft. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said delivery of the first KC-46 is still on track for the spring, however. Gen. Carlton Everhart, head of Air Mobility Command, said he thinks that once testing is complete and the aircraft start getting on the ramp, “they’re going to clear out pretty quick” to the appropriate bases.” Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma and McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas will be the first to receive the KC-46, which will replace the KC-135 Stratotanker.
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Unread post26 Jan 2018, 18:06

https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/new ... in-60.html

USAF General: Boeing tanker could be ready in 60 days


By Daniel McCoy
26Jan18

Wichita’s McConnell Air Force Base could finally be getting its first KC-46A Pegasus tanker in the next few months. According to a report from Defense News, Gen. Carlton Everhart, the U.S. Air Force’s head of Air Mobility Command, said the aircraft’s maker, the Boeing Co., could get final certification on the tanker from the Federal Aviation Administration before the end of the first quarter. “If everything stays on track and the weather holds, I think (they) can probably get everything done in the next 60 to 70 days, hopefully less,” Everhart said this week after personally flying for the first time on the KC-46. He also said that the Boeing (NYSE: BA) aircraft is now about 94 percent complete with the testing needing for its certification as a military variant. The tanker’s modified 767 platform achieved its Amended Type Certification from the FAA in December, verifying its fundamental design as safe and reliable. Still to come will be a Supplemental Type Certificate, which covers the military systems on the aircraft.

Everhart, who had high praise for the aircraft’s performance and advanced technology, said he expects Boeing to complete testing in about a month. Then, it will take about another month for the FAA to complete the certification process. Though the program has been hit by cost overruns and schedule delays, Boeing said earlier last month that it is still on track to hit the contract-mandated deadline of October 2018 to deliver the first 18 tankers and nine refueling pods to the USAF. McConnell, which is the main operating base for the tanker, and Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, which is home to the formal training unit for the aircraft, will be the first installations to receive the KC-46. McConnell will eventually be home to 36 of the 179 tankers Boeing expects to build for the service. The aircraft includes work done by Spirit AeroSystems Inc. (NYSE: SPR) in Wichita, which builds the forward fuselage and other components on the 767 model that serves as the tanker’s platform.
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Unread post26 Feb 2018, 03:39

https://www.defensenews.com/air/

Air Force: KC-46 testing showed tanker could withstand electromagnetic pulses

By: Charlsy Panzino
24Feb18

The Air Force is working with the Pentagon’s operational test and evaluation office to reconcile concerns raised in a January report about the KC-46 Pegasus, but the service isn’t planning to change the tanker program or test timelines. The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation said the KC-46 refueling tanker may not have met the office’s standards for electromagnetic pulse testing because not all of the systems were online during the tests. The goal was to assess whether the aircraft could safely operate when confronted by electromagnetic fields generated by equipment like radar. The test showed that the tanker’s flight-critical and boom-refueling systems could withstand a 6-decibel electromagnetic pulse, but certain systems were uninstalled or deactivated before testing, according to the report. “The configuration of the KC-46A used for EMP testing was intended to test the mission-critical functions of the aircraft to ensure it can continue to operate in an EMP environment,” Air Force Materiel Command officials told Air Force Times. The mission-critical functions include safe taxi, takeoff, flight, landing, control of the aircraft, life support, refueling operations (using the boom and centerline drogue system only), and voice communications. “The systems that were uninstalled or deactivated were not flight critical or required for aerial refueling operations,” the command said. After the KC-46 was exposed to electromagnetic pulses, the results showed that these critical systems retained their functionality, according to AFMC. “During a post-test functional flight, the boom operated successfully throughout its operating range (full telescope and movement) while the pumps filled the boom with fuel,” the command said. “The [refueling system] was also successfully trailed to full trail, filled with fuel, and fully rewound. The wing-mounted refueling pods were installed on the aircraft during the EMP test but were not tested during the post-test functional flight.” The electromagnetic testing took place in July at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and Edwards Air Force Base, California. AFMC said that as of now, there are no additional EMP tests scheduled for the KC-46.

One of the next steps is to assess how the tanker performs during nuclear threat-related tests. This includes an inherent hardness assessment and base escape study. The inherent hardness assessment considers the KC-46’s inherent hardness to nuclear weapon effects, AFMC said. A test of the aircraft’s thermal curtains, which protect aircrew from some of these effects, will be assessed. The base escape study is an analysis of the time required for a KC-46 to launch and fly a safe distance from a simulated nuclear attack. The IHA and BES tests are scheduled for the second half of fiscal 2018. Gen. Carlton Everhart, head of Air Mobility Command, told Air Force Times in January that the KC-46 is almost done with tests needed for the tanker’s second — and final — Federal Aviation Administration certification. In December, the FAA certified the 767-2C, which is the modified 767 commercial plane that forms the basis of the KC-46. This Amended Type Certificate verifies that the fundamental design of the tanker is safe, and it’s one of two FAA certifications required for the tanker program. The Supplemental Type Certificate focuses on the military-specific equipment that’s installed on the 767-2C aircraft to make it a tanker. In addition to the two FAA certifications, the KC-46 requires an Air Force-issued Military Type Certification that validates the airworthiness and safety of the military systems and equipment installed on the new tanker, AMC officials said. The Air Force plans to buy 179 of the aircraft, and Boeing is contractually obligated to deliver the first 18 certified tankers by October. McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas and Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma will be the first to receive the KC-46, which will replace the KC-135 Stratotankers.
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Unread post09 Sep 2018, 10:46

KC-46A_1546009_USAF_Sep2018-1.jpg
KC-46A prior to going to Boeing field - first for USAF
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Unread post24 Jan 2019, 15:14

"Boeing’s $44 Billion Tanker May Miss a Milestone by Three Years"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... hree-years
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Unread post24 Jan 2019, 16:33

How on earth did Boeing screw this up so bad?

By this time, the USAF could have had a stealth tanker! And it needs one, badly. Given current plans for the B-21, I'd fast track plans for the B-2 to be converted over to a tanker. Something's going to need to be done, given the fact they'll soon be hundreds of J-20's targeting our high value assets like KC-46's flying high over the South China Sea.

The USAF lives on its tanker fleet. I'd extend that to dies by it too the more aircraft we have with a RCS like a barn door. The B-2 conversion would provide at least a rudimentary capability, without necessitating a new airframe etc.. New stealth tankers are going to be pricey too, so only a limited number could be bought.

It's a curious statement that the USAF makes about the F-15, 16 etc not being survivable in today's double digit SAM world... which is why it needs the F-35. Should this logic not extend to tankers? Just strikes me as odd nothing is in the works, unless it's a black program?
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Unread post28 Jan 2019, 05:42

... or get off the potty!

U.S. Air Force Agrees To Accept KC-46 Deliveries From Boeing

Jan 25, 2019 Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Boeing and the U.S. Air Force are now set to move on from a two-year impasse over the KC-46 tanker aircraft’s unresolved deficiencies. For Boeing, this means recouping development losses by finally delivering and eventually sustaining 179 aircraft. The Air Force, meanwhile, is already looking beyond the KC-46 for its future aerial refueling requirements.

After a two-year delay, the first two KC-46s were set to depart on Jan. 25 from Boeing’s factory in Everett to McConnell AFB, Kansas. The delivery closes a chapter in the eight-year saga of the KC-46 development program, but the story continues.

The Air Force finally agreed to accept KC-46 deliveries from Boeing despite deficiencies in the tanker aircraft’s critical remote-vision system and lingering concerns about the refueling boom’s ability to sense axial forces. The Air Force is withholding $28 million from the final payment to Boeing on each KC-46 delivery until the problems are resolved.

The U.S. Air Force will withhold $28 million per aircraft until remaining issues are resolved

The service has begun developing requirements for its next tanker

But the conditional delivery agreement finally allows the Air Force to take delivery of its first refueling-boom-equipped tanker since the last KC-10 was delivered in 1988.

“Today highlights a first step in recapitalizing an aging tanker fleet,” says Gen. Maryanne Miller, commander of Air Mobility Command.

The delivery event at Boeing’s factory also allows the company to begin recouping its more than $3.5 billion loss so far on the original development contract.

“Today this multimission aircraft joins the Air Force fleet and opens the door to [Foreign Military Sales for] our allies,” says Leanne Caret, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

[not likely before USAF is fully satisfied]

Boeing’s first KC-46 tanker delivery to the Air Force was never supposed to be so complicated. After winning an epic struggle with Airbus to claim the KC-X contract in February 2011, the plan seemed simple. By then, Boeing had been in the aerial-refueling business for six decades and the 767 manufacturing business for three, so merging them together in the KC-46 configuration seemed straightforward. ...

... Meanwhile, the Air Force is already looking beyond the KC-46 for its refueling needs. The Air Combat Command is developing a requirement for a new tanker aircraft. The Air Force Research Laboratory has proposed several concepts, including a medium-size, manned aircraft with a low radar cross-section. Lockheed’s Skunk Works also has developed a concept for an unmanned aircraft system that can refuel combat aircraft inside defended airspace. Like the MQ-25, it is an autonomous system, but it carries more fuel than the Navy aircraft.

Such proposals are not so futuristic. The last KC-46 is scheduled for delivery in 2027, giving the Air Force only eight years to prepare for a follow-on program. The Air Force plans to divest all 56 McDonnell Douglas KC-10s by 2024 as new KC-46 aircraft arrive. Even once all 179 KC-46s have entered the Air Force inventory by 2027, the service still expects to operate a fleet of KC-135Rs after that year. Replacing all 300 aircraft could take 20 years if the planned rate of 15 KC-46 deliveries a year is maintained for the follow-on program.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/us-air- ... ies-boeing


Looks like the next tanker may be manned tactical with dedicated LO. Suggests they'll need to buy extra heavies after 2027, or at least adjust the numbers to properly utilize a smaller tactical tanker in closer to get aircraft back to the heavies for a full load of juice.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 07:03

US Air Force eyes KC-46A aerial refuelling boom redesign

Pat Host, Everett, Washington - Jane's Defence Weekly

29 January 2019



The USAF will redesign the problematic boom on the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker to better accommodate lighter aircraft such as the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. Source: Boeing

Key Points

- The US Air Force is planning to redesign the KC-46A boom to better accommodate lighter aircraft
The USAF agreed to pay for this upgrade as Boeing met its international standard

The US Air Force (USAF) will redesign the problematic boom on the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker to better accommodate lighter aircraft such as the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.

USAF Secretary Heather Wilson said on 24 January that the boom does not disconnect as well from lighter aircraft as it does with heavier aircraft. The service has identified an actuator fix that will make the boom a little more sensitive, and she believes it is likely that the A-10 is the only aircraft affected by this issue.

The A-10 is a lighter aircraft compared with some of the USAF's other aircraft such as transports, bombers, and even other tactical combat aircraft. The Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules weighs 34,686 kg empty and the A-10 weighs 9,183 kg empty, while the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) weighs 13,290 kg empty.

At Boeing's KC-46A first delivery ceremony, Wilson said that the USAF is paying for the boom redesign as it meets the international standard that the service gave to Boeing. In the deal reached in mid-January over the first delivery, the USAF agreed to pay for the boom fix while Boeing would pay for upgrading the remote vision system (RVS). Boeing is planning both hardware and software fixes to the RVS to allow it to automatically adjust and operate effectively in both the sun's glare and in shadow.

Wilson also said that this boom redesign will be the first programme change in the history of the KC-46A.

(305 of 591 words)

https://www.janes.com/article/86037/us- ... m-redesign
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth

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