Boom Time For Boeing Tanker


Tanker testing tempo picks up for Boeing's KC46A EMD program

EMD1, the first test aircraft in Boeing’s KC-46A engineering and manufacturing design (EMD) program, is beginning fuel system ground tests at Paine Field, Washington, following completion of initial airworthiness flights with a refueling boom and wing-mounted WARP (wing aerial refueling pods) on June 3.


Even though EMD1 is a modified 767-2C and not a militarized KC-46A tanker like the second aircraft which joins the flight test program this summer, the sight of a refueling boom in the air is an important step for the pressurized program. The first airframe, which is also known as VH001, made its delayed first flight last December but continuing issues with design changes, software, wiring and parts have continued to hamper progress. However the return to flight of EMD-1 on May 28 and the rising tempo of ground tests with the first true KC-46A, EMD2, show the program is gathering inertia.


(Joe Walker)

EMD2 is presently located in the Everett Modification Center which was set up by Boeing originally to refurbish and rework early-build 787s. The aircraft, which will be the first to receive a U.S. Air Force tanker paint scheme, is set to begin functional ground tests of the refueling boom later this week. EMD2, also dubbed VH004, will be used for aerial refueling tests and to check the other test boxes to get to Milestone C – the all-important Air Force decision needed to clear the way for low-rate production of the first two ‘lots’ of seven and 12 aircraft.

Two further EMD aircraft, VH003 (EMD3/767-2C) and VH002 (EMD4/KC-46A), will complete the test ensemble and are due to fly by the end of 2015.

Discuss this Blog Entry 14

on Jun 4, 2015

There's still time to order the A330 MRTT - the rest of the world is.

on Jun 4, 2015

And take full advantage of Airbus "AES"? (Automatic Engine Shutdown!)
Capt. Ross Aimer
CEO, Aero Consulting Experts
Los Angeles

on Jun 4, 2015

And booms that fall off.

on Sep 1, 2015

The MRTT does not meet USAF requirements. It is more "civilian" than "military"

on Jun 4, 2015

46 airframe orders = "the rest of the world"?

on Jun 4, 2015

Smaller more agile refueling platforms make sense in today’s diverse arenas.

on Jun 4, 2015

And take full advantage of Airbus "AES". (Automatic Engine Shutdown!)
Capt. Ross Aimer
CEO, Aero Consulting Experts
Los Angeles

on Jun 4, 2015

Ha Ha. How does a program "gather inertia"? Is that an intentional ironic reflection on this program, or did they mean to say that the program is accelerating, or gaining momentum. But I love the philosophical implications of questioning how you can "gain" the ability to retain the existing state.

on May 4, 2017

"gathering inertia" is the active operating mode of dynamic stagnation.

on Jun 4, 2015

The KC-46A will rule the sky as the KC-135 have done for the last 60 years and still for years to come.

on Jun 4, 2015

You can see what Boeing have done with the two images supplied, one is EMD1, which isnt even a tanker. The other image is photoshop, which would do North Korea proud.

on Jun 5, 2015

Eliminate the competition, put all your eggs in one basket and you get to big to fail. Wait I was thinking of the banking industry.

on Jun 6, 2015

They had the competition. Airbus lost. You don't hold a competition and then buy all entrants. That would be stupid.

on Jun 15, 2015

Folks...there's plenty of market out there for two major aerial tankers, the smaller turboprops (KC-130J & A400), plus conversions for those countries that want to go that route.

Airbus will make the 330MRTT & A400 work, and Boeing will get the KC-46 into the US fleet.

It's good the west has several options for this type of platform.

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