Wed, May 27, 2009
What's This? A Modern Tanker Program That's Going
Three KC-767J aerial refueling
tankers recently achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and
have been placed in an active air wing in the Japan Air
Self-Defense Force (JASDF). After all the turmoil associated with
other tanker development programs, this qualifies as a truly
pivotal event in the aerial-refueling game.
“This is a historic achievement for the nation of Japan
and a significant accomplishment for Boeing’s tanker
program,” said Dave Bowman, vice president and general
manager of Boeing Tanker Programs. “These wide-body KC-767Js
are now providing the JASDF with its own aerial refueling
capability for the first time in history, while improving its
ability to deliver passengers or cargo.”
Officials with the Japan Ministry of Defense and JASDF
officially designated the KC-767J tankers "operational" during an
April ceremony at Komaki Air Base, Japan, after the aircraft
successfully completed a yearlong technical evaluation. The third
of four KC-767J tankers ordered by Japan was ferried from
Boeing’s Wichita, Kan., modification facility and delivered
on time and within budget to the JASDF in March. The first two
tankers were delivered to Japan in February and March 2008.
Boeing is scheduled to transfer the fourth Japan tanker to the
company's partner Itochu in December for delivery to the Ministry
of Defense in the first quarter of 2010. Final work on that tanker
is taking place at the Wichita modification center. The KC-767
tanker, a military derivative of the proven Boeing 767-200
commercial airplane, features the company's advanced aerial
refueling boom and Remote Aerial Refueling Operator II system.
Japan's tankers are convertible tanker/freighter KC-767Js, which
provide flexibility in carrying cargo or passengers while
maintaining their primary role as aerial refueling tankers.
“Delivery of the first KC-767J aerial refueling tankers,
and their achievement of IOC status just a few weeks after the
arrival of Japan 3, are great milestones,” Bowman said.
“Boeing has KC-767 international tankers that have been
built, flown, tested, certified, delivered and in operational
Boeing also has two KC-767 tankers in comprehensive flight test
for the Italian Air Force (ITAF) and is performing modification
work on two additional ITAF tankers. The first tanker for Italy is
scheduled for delivery this year.
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