PICTURE: Japan receives last Boeing KC-767 tanker

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Japan has received its fourth and last Boeing KC-767 tanker/transport, with the fleet expected to complete operational evaluation activities later this year.

Handed over by local programme partner Itochu on 8 January, the aircraft had arrived in Japan in late December, following the completion of modification work at Boeing's Wichita site in Kansas.

Japan's previous three KC-767s were delivered to the nation's air force between February 2008 and March 2009, when initial operational capability was declared. The tankers are flown from the service's Komaki air base.

 
© Boeing

Noting that the last aircraft delivery was achieved "on schedule and on cost", Boeing Defense, Space & Security chief executive Dennis Muilenberg says: "Japan now has the capability to perform vital self-defence, refuelling and airlift missions".

Tokyo's KC-767s have been manufactured in a convertible freighter configuration. They feature an aft refuelling boom to be used in support of air force types such as the Mitsubishi/Lockheed Martin F-2A and Mitsubishi/Boeing F-15J fighters.

Japan also operates a fleet of four 767-based airborne warning and control system aircraft, deliveries of which took place between 1994 and 1997, according to Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

Separately, Boeing says three of Italy's eventual four KC-767 tankers are in flight test, "with the fourth airplane still being modified".