Boeing Assembles 2nd KC-46A Tanker

Boeing has begun assembling the second KC-46A tanker with the loading of the airplane’s wing spar, the wing’s main structural component, at its plant in Everett, Wash., announced the company. This comes less than two months after the company began putting together the first KC-46. “We’re exactly where we want to be right now,” said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing’s KC-46 program manager, in the company’s Aug. 23 release. The first tanker is expected to roll out of the factory in January, while the second one is scheduled to follow next March, according to the company. Boeing expects to assemble the first four KC-46s by July 2014 and have the first two flying by then. Those first four KC-46s will serve as test aircraft initially, but will join the operational fleet at a later point. “Completing production of the four test aircraft on schedule is our priority as we prepare to enter the flight test phase of the program,” said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the Air Force’s tanker program executive officer. The Air Force is procuring 179 KC-46s to replace its oldest KC-135s.