At Least Someone’s Getting New Tankers

While the Air Force sits and waits for a new tanker to replace its Eisenhower-era KC-135s, ally Japan’s tanker program progresses. According to Boeing, the company delivered the third of four KC-767J tankers that it is building for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to its Japanese industry partner Itochu Feb. 25. Itochu will turn over the aircraft to the JASDF sometime this month after an in-country acceptance process. It will join the two KC-767Js that were supplied last year. “This new KC-767J will be a valuable addition to Japan’s tanker fleet as the country performs vital missions in the Asia-Pacific region,” Dave Bowman, Boeing vice president and general manager for Tanker Programs, said in the company’s release. Boeing said it is scheduled to transfer the fourth Japanese tanker to Itochu in December for delivery to the JASDF in the first quarter of 2010.