Boeing has begun assembling the Air Force’s third KC-46A tanker at its plant in Everett, Wash., announced the company. “Our teams are maintaining their focus on quality and productivity as we move the first tankers through production,” said Scott Campbell, Boeing’s 767 general manager, in the company’s Oct. 22 release. The KC-46 is based on the 767 commercial airliner. In August, Boeing started assembly of the second KC-46. “In addition to the three KC-46A tankers now in production, our System Integration Labs are operational and we’re assembling a second [refueling] boom,” said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing’s KC-46 program manager. “We remain on track to deliver the initial 18 KC-46A tankers by 2017,” she said. The Air Force plans to acquire up to 179 KC-46s by 2028 to replace its oldest KC-135s. Boeing said it is on schedule to complete the first four KC-46s by mid-2014. The company will use them as test assets initially; they will join the operational fleet at a later point. (See also KC-46A Progress.)
Robins Air Force Base, Ga., has completed two environmental reviews, clearing the way for new construction to support the bases four new missions sets, which will replace the E-8 Joint STARS mission that has defined the base for decades.