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Air Platforms

KC-46 achieves US FAA certification

07 September 2018
Boeing on 4 September achieved a key milestone in the KC-46 programme when the US FAA granted the platform a supplemental type certificate. Source: Boeing

Key Points

  • Boeing achieved US FAA certification for its KC-46 aerial refuelling tanker
  • The certification is a key milestone as the company works towards first delivery in October

Boeing on 4 September achieved a key milestone in the KC-46 Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker programme when the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the platform a supplemental type certificate (STC), according to a company statement.

The STC verifies that the KC-46’s refuelling and mission avionics systems meet FAA requirements. The milestone also marks completion of the aircraft’s FAA certification. Boeing spokesman Charles Ramey said on 6 September that the company is still on track for first aircraft delivery to the US Air Force (USAF) by October.

To receive the STC, Boeing completed a series of lab, ground, and flight tests, which began in 2015. As part of the required flight testing, the company validated the KC-46’s boom and drogue aerial refuelling systems met FAA certification criteria.

The STC is one of two required FAA airworthiness certifications. Boeing received an amended type certificate (ATC) for its core 767-2C aircraft configuration in December. While those certifications cover most of the jet, not all military functions and equipment can be certified by the FAA.

The USAF must also grant a military type certificate (MTC), which Boeing said is expected in the coming months. The company concluded MTC flight testing, which included the aircraft’s aerial refuelling, defensive, and other military-specific systems, in July.

Ramey said the MTC is now in the review and approval cycle with the air force. USAF spokesperson Captain Hope Cronin said on 6 September that there is no specific timeline for the service completing the MTC review.

Six aircraft have supported various segments of STC and MTC testing. Overall, 3,500 flight hours and more than 1,361 tonnes of fuel have been transferred during flights with Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, Boeing AV-8B Harrier II, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Northrop Grumman A-10 Thunderbolt II, Boeing KC-10 Extender, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, and KC-46 aircraft.

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