- Boeing has completed Phase II KC-46A receiver certification testing
- The third phase of testing starts in 2019
Boeing said on 3 December that the KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker programme completed its planned Phase II receiver certification flight testing following three weeks of flights with Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft.
Boeing and the US Air Force (USAF) KC-46A crews kicked off receiver certification testing with Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft in April. Since then, the joint team also completed testing with a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17A Globemaster III, KC-46A Pegasus, B-52H Stratofortress, and F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and a Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice-president and programme manager, said in a statement that this helps set the stage for the start of initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) testing next year.
During the certification flight tests, KC-46A and receiver aircraft flew at different airspeeds, altitudes, and configurations to ensure compatibility and performance throughout the refuelling envelope of each receiver. The USAF and the aerial refuelling certificating agency will review all test data and paperwork before ultimately 'certifying' each aircraft. Boeing deferred a request for comment to the USAF, which did not respond by publication.
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