1/29/2008 - ST. LOUIS -- The Boeing Company 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
"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.
Source: Boeing Press Release