Boeing's internal designation for the US Air Force (USAF) KC-46 tanker is the 767-2C, with the 'C' presumably meaning 'combination' or 'convertible'. Along with 787-style large displays, Boeing is introducing into the 767-2C a central maintenance computer, a technology normally associated with the more advanced Boeing 777. This new version of the 767 is so advanced that Boeing is required to stand-up a systems integration laboratory -- the SIL Line 0.
You never know what you'll get when you ask the USAF to mail you a compact disc loaded with information about the KC-X tanker programme, as, ahem, EADS North America and Boeing discovered during the competition. But this time the USAF got its shipments straight, responding to this blog's Freedom of Information Act request with the full text of the KC-X contract awarded to Boeing on 24 February.
By requesting this document -- which, according to page 1, is valued at $4,419,130,178.00 -- your blogger was hoping to discover the precise configuration of the 767 in Boeing's proposal. The manufacturer has chosen to withhold this information from the public, which of course is their right.
But these hopes were dashed.
After a quick review with Flightblogger editor Jon Ostrower of all 203 surprisingly unredacted pages, I still know almost nothing about the 767-2C airframe. (It turns out the 767-2C designation has been Google-able since August, thanks to LinkedIn.) My colleague Ostrower believes the requirement for a dedicated SIL could be significant, suggesting the internal system changes from the baseline 767 are far more advanced than previously believed. A dedicated SIL is an expensive investment.