Boeing has demonstrated the next-generation boom technology included in its offering for the US Air Force's KC-X tanker competition, and says it is on track to meet the 9 July deadline for bids.

"We have a great deal of confidence in that technology," says Boeing Defense, Space and Security chief executive Dennis Muilenburg. "We demonstrated the capabilities. It is a next-generation boom with fly-by-wire and it is ready for the tanker schedule."

Muilenburg declines to reveal more details about the company's 767-based NewGen Tanker, but says the offering includes "technological insertions from other programmes", such as the 787 cockpit.

Boeing is also drawing on lessons learned from the tankers it has developed for Japan and Italy, says Muilenburg.

Japan has taken delivery of its four 767-based tankers, and its feedback has been "positive", he adds. Italy's acquisition of four KC-767s has been delayed from an original scheduled delivery in 2007, but Muilenburg expects the nation to receive its first example soon.

"We are ramping up the technical development work. The next step of the process is the tender for acceptance, that's the formal process of accepting the aircraft into the fleet. We are entering that process this summer," he says. "I see that programme now moving along in a positive manner."

Japan and Italy's tanker acquisitions have given Boeing confidence in the USAF KC-X competition, adds Muilenburg.

"Certainly, we have a lot of lessons learned and a lot of risk reduction that has been accomplished for both of those and all of that is being rolled into our US tankers competition," he says.

"The fact that we do have 767-based tankers that have been delivered and are now in operation, including those in Japan, gives us confidence in the underlying platform. And we're adding capabilities that are required, that are unique for the US competition."

Source: Flight International