Boeing and the Air Force have validated the final design elements of the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker and concluded that the design can meet Air Force requirements, Boeing said Wednesday.
The step clears the way for production and testing of the tanker that will replace the current fleet of aging KC-135 Stratotankers.
“I’m pleased to report that the design of the KC-46A tanker has been locked down,” Air Force Maj. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force program executive officer for tankers, said in a statement. “This is great news for the nation's war fighters. The joint government and Boeing team stayed focused on the design review objectives, and truly delivered.”
Boeing and the Air Force held a KC-46A Weapon System Critical Design review in July, which followed months of component and subsystem reviews, the company said.
The tanker is based on Boeing’s commercial 767-200ER.
If all options under the contract are exercised, Boeing expects to deliver 179 tankers so the Air Force. Boeing plans to build four test aircraft and deliver 18 combat-ready tankers by 2017.