The Boeing [NYSE: BA] KC-46 Tanker program successfully completed its Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) with the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 24 at Boeing program headquarters in Mukilteo. The assessment, attended by senior Air Force program officials, validated the program's technical scope and finalized key milestones for the design and development phase of the Air Force's next-generation aerial refueling tanker.
"We remain on plan with the KC-46 development program from a technical, schedule and cost perspective," said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing vice president and KC-46 Tanker program manager. "The IBR process reinforces that we have the right technical baseline, management approach and staffing levels in place to execute this contract. We're well positioned to deliver our first 18 combat-ready tankers in 78 months."
With IBR complete, the program now will focus on milestones that include a Preliminary Design Review in the first quarter of 2012, a Critical Design Review in the third quarter of 2013, and the KC-46 tanker's first flight in early 2015.
Since contract award on Feb. 24, Boeing's KC-46 Tanker program has completed the Air Force System Requirements Review as well as the 767-2C Provisioned Freighter Preliminary Design Review and Firm Configuration. The latter review marks the end of the preliminary configuration development phase for the Boeing commercial airplane on which the KC-46 tanker is based.
Boeing received a contract to build 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will begin to replace the Air Force's fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers. The contract calls for Boeing to design, develop, manufacture and deliver 18 initial combat-ready tankers by 2017.
Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46 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-46 also features a modernized KC-10 boom with a fly-by-wire control system, and a refueling envelope and fuel offload rate that is greater than the KC-135 it will replace.
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