Boeing tanker issue could delay production decision

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Delays to the start of KC-46 tanker production may arise after a recent test where it was unable to transfer fuel to a US Air Force C-17, the USAF says.

During the attempted maneuver, the tanker’s refueling boom experienced higher than expected axial loads, which prevented the transfer of fuel. The boom is a rigid, telescoping tube that extends and inserts into a receptacle on the receiving aircraft. Most of the larger Air Force aircraft use this refueling method.

Boeing is reported to understand the problem and is working on a fix. However, the Air Force does not yet know what impact the corrections will have to a planned Milestone C decision, scheduled for May, to formally approve production of the new tanker.

In an earlier test, the KC-46 successfully refueled an Air Force F-16, as well as a Navy F/A-18 and Marine Corps Harrier. All use the aircraft’s hose-and-drogue system for refueling, rather than the boom.

April 8, 2016

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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