2/12/2007 - ST. LOUIS -- A Boeing KC-767 Tanker
aircraft reached another major milestone Saturday when
its aircrew successfully extended and retracted the
refueling hose from the centerline Hose Drum Unit
(HDU) during a test flight over Kansas.
Over the next several months, about two dozen flights
-- at various speeds and altitudes -- will be
conducted while trailing the hose to ensure the
system's stability. When using the HDU, a tanker
extends a hose with a basket attached to the end that
connects to a probe on the aircraft receiving fuel.
"Obviously we see trailing the Hose Drum Unit as a
significant step forward since most of our country's
military aircraft utilize this system when refueling,"
said Lt. Col. Roberto Poni, Italian Air Force Tanker
While the U.S. Air Force primarily uses a boom for
aerial refueling, the Italian Air Force, along with
the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps and other NATO
countries predominantly use hose and drogue refueling.
The U.S. Air Force has stated they want both a boom
and HDU refueling capability for its next-generation
When fully functional, the HDU has the capability to
refuel large or small probe-equipped aircraft and can
offload 600 gallons of fuel per minute. The KC-767
also is configured to carry two Wing Aerial Refueling
Pods (WARPs) for the hose and drogue refueling
mission, allowing the simultaneous refueling of
multiple aircraft. The WARPs can offload 400 gallons
of fuel per minute.
"Extending the HDU means we have truly entered a new
frontier in air refueling," said Joe Shaheen, director
of Boeing International Tanker Programs. "The HDU, as
well as the WARPs, are built by Smiths Aerospace and
represent the most advanced hose/drogue refueling
systems in the world."
"Achieving this tanker milestone is another example
of the tremendous record of Boeing air refueling
experience and success over the last 75 years," said
Ron Marcotte, vice president and general manager of
Boeing Global Mobility Systems.
The KC-767, slated for delivery to Italy this year,
has logged more than 220 flights and 660 hours during
its flight test program. Boeing has produced nearly
2,000 tankers in its history and currently is building
four tankers each for Italy and Japan. The first
KC-767 for Japan, which recently completed its first
flight, is scheduled to be delivered soon.
Source: Boeing Press Release