PICTURE: Italy's delayed KC-767 tankers achieve flight test milestone

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The Italian air force has moved a step closer to the delayed introduction to service of its new KC-767A tanker/transports, with Boeing having demonstrated the type's ability to receive fuel from another aircraft.

Conducted from Boeing's Wichita site in Kansas on 17 December, the flight-test milestone saw Italy's second of four KC-767s receive more than 4,540kg (10,000lb) of fuel from its first example. A total of seven contacts were achieved using the aircraft's aerial refuelling boom, the company says.

 
© Boeing

Under its December 2002 contract with Boeing, launch KC-767 customer Italy had expected to take delivery of its four aircraft between 2005 and early 2008, but this schedule has slipped significantly due to various development issues encountered during flight testing of the modified widebody.

Boeing said last February that two of Italy's KC-767s would be delivered by the end of 2008, but missed this revised target. Rome's other two aircraft are still in production, it says. Boeing's second customer for the KC-767, Japan, already has two of its four aircraft in operational use.

See Flight's cutaway drawing of the KC-767A.