Boeing's efforts to sell the KC-767 tanker to the US Air Force received a potentially timely boost on 20 February, when the manufacturer delivered Japan's first of four aircraft folllowing a significant development delay which has also affected the product's other existing buyer, Italy.
Pictured landing at Japan's Gifu air base following a 14h delivery flight from the USA, boom equipped aircraft 601 will undergo a period of operational and technical evaluation prior to receiving clearance to start frontline duties, says Michael Marshall, Boeing's senior manager international business development for global mobility systems. Tokyo's second aircraft will be handed over by the end of March, he says, with its remaining examples to follow in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Italy's first of four KC-767s will be delivered by the end of the second quarter this year, says Marshall, with another to follow before year-end.
Speaking at the Singapore air show, Marshall said that the USAF's KC-X contest could also be close to its delayed conclusion, with a Defense Acquisition Board review anticipated as early as 25 February and a platform selection to potentially be announced on 29 February.
The KC-767 is facing up to the Northrop Grumman/EADS North America KC-30 a military derivative of the Airbus A330.
Japan's first KC-767 finally arrived at Gifu air base after lengthy delays