The KC-46 program completed two key refueling boom milestones recently. Its first test aircraft (EMD1) took to the skies with the refueling boom and wing air refueling pods installed. The airworthiness flight was the first with refueling equipment. During the four hour flight from Boeing Field to Paine Field in Washington, pilots and engineers examined how the aircraft handled with the extra hardware attached. The flight, with the boom and wing pods installed on the aircraft, tested aerodynamics and performance rather than the functionality of the refueling elements, which were not operational.
Additionally, the program’s second test plane (EMD2) is well on its way to becoming a truly militarized tanker aircraft. Boeing employees installed the fully-functional advanced refueling boom, with the wing pods to follow soon. Once completed, the aircraft will be able to carry 31,000 gallons of fuel and have the ability to fuel multiple aircraft simultaneously—a capability that offers flexibility in the battlefield. The test flight of the first fully outfitted test plane is scheduled for later this summer.
Check out the 767-2C (EMD1 ) in flight and get a behind-the-scenes look inside the factory at a boom installation in this video: