The Italian air force's first of four delayed Boeing KC-767A tankers has finally been delivered to its Pratica di Mare air base near Rome. Italian air force chief of staff Gen Giuseppe Bernardis and Boeing Italy president Rinaldo Petrignani marked the milestone at a 27 January ceremony.

Registered as MM 62229, the aircraft will now enter a series of evaluations and other activities before being placed into operational use, the air force says.

 KC-767A - Italian air force
© Italian air force

Formally accepted in the USA on 29 December, the tanker will be followed by a second example in the coming months, after this has cleared acceptance trials that are under way at Boeing's Wichita site in Kansas, US.

Originally slated for delivery from 2005, the new aircraft have been delayed due to technical issues, including a buffet problem that was encountered following the installation of their underwing hose and drogue refuelling pods.

Boeing has already supplied one civilian 767 to support Italy's training activities. The manufacturer says that the parties "have agreed to further enhance present capabilities on the final two KC-767 tankers", and that this "will delay their delivery".

 KC-767A cockpit - Italian air force
© Italian air force

Based on a modified 767-200ER airframe, the KC-767A also has a centreline hose and an advanced aerial refuelling boom. The aircraft can carry up to 200 passengers or 19 pallets of freight on its main deck, or be outfitted in a "combi" configuration with up to 100 seats and 10 pallets.

 KC-767A boom - Italian air force
© Italian air force

Source: Flight International