by Daryl Mayer
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
10/9/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Now
that Boeing has two aircraft -- one a 767-2C freighter and one a
militarized KC-46A tanker -- in the air, the program expects flight
testing will really get off the ground.
All told, the path forward is for flight testing to validate the
aircraft meets performance requirements and achieves both FAA and
military certification. Under the "Test Once" architecture, KC-46 will
test systems once for both certifications.
So, it was vitally important to get Air Force Developmental Test crews cleared to participate in flight testing.
"Our EMD test program depends on an integrated effort between the Boeing
and Air Force test teams. Strong teamwork has been a hallmark for this
group, so I'm excited to see them execute flights as one joint crew,"
said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, Program Executive Officer for
Tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
The Air Force Test Center team can now work side-by-side with Boeing and
FAA officials to put the aircraft through a gauntlet of evaluations
methodically testing and validating systems perform as expected.
"These are exciting times because each flight progresses through its
demonstration toward meeting the warfighter requirements. There is still
a lot of work on the horizon, but our flight path is set," said Col.
Christopher Coombs, KC-46 System Program Manager.
The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179
KC-46A refueling tankers to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet.
The program is currently working to meet the Required Assets Available
date, a milestone requiring 18 KC-46A aircraft and all necessary support
equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs by the