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KC-46 Tanker programme completes preliminary design review


KC-46 Tanker. A Boeing photo.

MUKILTEO, WASHINGTON (BNS): Boeing KC-46 Tanker programme has completed a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) with the US Air Force, a key milestone in the development of the next-generation aerial refueling tanker.

The review, which began March 21 and ended April 27, demonstrated that the preliminary design of the KC-46A Tanker meets system requirements and establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design.

Boeing remains on plan to deliver 18 combat-ready KC-46A Tankers by 2017.

The programme's next major milestone is a Critical Design Review (CDR) that will take place in the summer of 2013. The CDR will determine that the design of the KC-46A is mature and ready to proceed to the manufacturing phase.

"The KC-46 team is designing an aircraft that will offer superior, modern multi-role capabilities for the warfighter, including advanced refueling systems and military avionics, and the ability to transport cargo, passengers and patients," said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing KC-46 Tanker vice president and programme manager.

In addition to the successful PDR, the Boeing KC-46 team has completed several major milestones on or ahead of schedule over the past year that include a System Requirements Review, Integrated Baseline Review, 767-2C PDR, and Firm Configuration Reviews for the 767-2C and the KC-46A Tanker.

Boeing will build 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will begin to replace the Air Force's fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers.

Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46A tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft updated with the latest and most advanced technology to meet the demanding mission requirements of the future, including a digital flight deck featuring Boeing 787 Dreamliner electronic displays and a flight control design philosophy that places aircrews in command to maximize combat maneuverability.

The KC-46A also features a modernised KC-10 boom with a fly-by-wire control system, and a refueling envelope and fuel offload rate that is greater than that of the KC-135 it will replace.


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