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Boeing offers next-gen KC-46 tanker in Republic of Korea competition


KC-46 tanker. A Boeing photo

EVERETT, WASHINGTON (BNS): US defence major Boeing has offered to the Republic of Korea (ROK) the KC-46 - the U S Air Force's next-generation tanker - as Korea prepares to acquire four aircraft for its first tanker squadron.

Boeing made the offer in response to Korea's request for proposals for an aerial refuelling tanker.

Korea's Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA) is expected to complete its competition by the end of this year.

Unique among tankers, the KC-46 can operate in chemical, biological and nuclear conditions, features cockpit armour for protection from small arms fire, and can also operate from a large variety of smaller airfields and forward-deployed austere bases. It can transport cargo, passengers and support aeromedical evacuations.

In addition to a cargo door, the KC-46 features a main deck cargo floor which can be reconfigured by one person in no more than two hours or two persons in no more than one hour to accommodate any mission.

DAPA has also accepted bids from Europe's Airbus and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), according to an AFP report. The bids involve Airbus' A330-based Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and the B767-300ER made by IAI.

The US is a major supplier of South Korea's military procurement needs particularly for the ROKAF. In 2013, Boeing said it spent over $400 million with Korean companies, up from $340 million in 2012.

More than 50 Korean companies provided products and services for Boeing production and sustainment programmes, research and development and a broad range of internal services that support Boeing operations.

"We have been a strategic and industrial partner with the Republic of Korea for more than six decades and remain committed to helping Korea strengthen its defence capabilities and aerospace industry," said Eric John, president of Boeing Korea.

"Based on the proven 767 airframe, which has an in-service readiness rate of approximately 99 percent as an airliner, freighter and tanker, the KC-46 will be able to fulfil more mission requirements with fewer aircraft than is possible today," added Chuck Johnson, Boeing vice president, Air Force Programmes.

Boeing plans to build and deliver to the U S Air Force 179 KC-46As by 2027.

Tags:

SKorea  Tanker  Boeing  DAPA  Defence  

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