The Boeing has received an amended type certificate for the 767-2C that serves as the baseline aircraft for conversion into the US Air Force KC-46A tanker, the company says.
Boeing expects to deliver the first KC-46 to the air force next year but first must receive two certifications from the US Federal Aviation Administration. In addition to the amended certification for the 767-2C, the programme is still working on qualifying for a supplemental type certification for the modifications required to convert the aircraft into a military tanker.
“We continue to make good progress on the STC effort – 83% complete at present -- and have moved into the FAA flight testing phase,” Boeing KC-46 programme manager Mike Gibbons says in a statement.
Prior to the 767 certification, Boeing completed a series of ground and flight tests focusing on the aircraft’s avionics, autoflight and environmental control systems, as well as its new fuel system.
Boeing has six KC-46 test aircraft supporting the certification effort. So far, KC-46s have refueled four different fighters -- F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B and A-10 -- and three airlifters or tankers, including the C-17, KC-10 and other KC-46 aircraft.
In a report last spring, the Government Accountability Office attributed some of the KC-46 programme’s schedule delays to delayed FAA certifications.