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Japan's First KC-767 Deploys Its Boom

First Of Four Tankers For JASDF

A Boeing flight test crew deployed the air refueling boom on the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF) future KC-767 Tanker for the first time February 17, in the skies over western Kansas.

Representatives with Boeing tell ANN that after departing Boeing Integrated Defense Systems facilities in Wichita, the flight crew deployed the fly-by-wire boom and flew it to several vertical and horizontal positions to demonstrate its full functionality. The flight also verified boom flight control handling qualities and the integration between the aircrew operator and the world's most advanced refueling systems.

"Now that we've deployed the boom on Japan's first tanker, we will push forward and complete testing so we can deliver the most advanced air refueling platform to our Japanese customer," said Joe Shaheen, director of Boeing International Tanker Programs.

Japan selected KC-767 Tanker, a military derivative of the 767-200 commercial jetliner, over an Airbus A310-derived platform in 2001. It has been configured with a fifth-generation air refueling boom and the Remote Aerial Refueling Operator (RARO II) system.

Under contract to receive four KC-767 Tankers, the JASDF has selected the convertible freighter configuration, which Boeing says provides flexibility in carrying cargo or passengers, while maintaining the aircraft's primary role as an aerial tanker.

As Aero-News reported, Airbus now offers a A330-derived refueling platform, which is larger than the KC-767 and provides additional flexibility for air transport duties. That plane is Boeing's competitor for the US Air Force's KC-X Tanker competition.

FMI: www.boeing.com

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