Boeing has started production of the first US of 179 Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling tankers. The aircraft will be delivered over the next 14 years starting 2016.
The KC-46A, which has been under development for the last two years and is based on the 767-200ER, features an enhanced flight deck and a modernised refuelling boom system, as well as improved performance that will allow it to offload more fuel and carry more passengers, cargo and medical patients, Boeing said.
Next June, Boeing will begin installation of military-unique systems on the aircraft as well as testing. First flight for the fully-provisioned tanker is scheduled for early 2015.
Boeing expects to build and deliver the first 18 KC-46As by 2017 and a total of 179 by 2027 if all options under the contract are exercised.