KC-767 International Sales
Boeing estimated that the international market for a new tanker would consist of up to 90 aircraft over the 10 years, a $12 billion business opportunity. In July 2001 Tanker & Transport Service Company Limited, a consortium consisting of Boeing, BAE SYSTEMS, Serco Group and Spectrum Capital, responded to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Invitation to Negotiate for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft program.
In July 2001 the Italian Air Force announced the purchase of four new aerial refueling tankers, and options for two more -- a deal worth maybe $700 million. The planes will be the first ever 767 tanker-transports. Italy chose the Boeing aircraft over a design offered by European plane maker Airbus. The Italian Air Force was to receive the first of its four 767 tankers in late 2005.
On 24 February 2005 Boeing unveiled the first of four KC-767 aerial refueling tankers ordered by Italy's Air Force. On May 21, 2005 Boeing test pilots took the first Italian Air Force KC-767A advanced aerial refueling tanker on its maiden flight. Named Italy KC-767A#1, the aircraft lifted off from McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kan., and flew for more than one hour, officially beginning its flying and aerial refueling certification test program.
On April 05, 2006 Boeing test pilots took off from Everett, Wash., en route to Naples, Italy, in the third Boeing 767 destined for the Italian air force. On arrival at the Aeronavali Modification Center near Naples, the airplane will be modified into the third KC-767A aerial tanker.
On March 01, 2007 Boeing celebrated the delivery of the fourth commercial 767 that will be modified into a KC-767 Tanker for the Italian Air Force. In a brief ceremony at the company's Everett, Wash. facility, Boeing Commercial Airplanes delivered the aircraft to Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, who will transform it into an aerial refueling tanker. "We're eager to start modifying the fourth 767 for the Italian Air Force," said Joe Shaheen, director of Boeing International Tanker Programs. "Once completed, Italy will have an advanced tanker fleet with unrivaled capability and operational flexibility."
Japan became the second customer for the 767 Tanker Transport when it competitively selected the aircraft in December 2001. The KC-767 was selected over its competitor, the Airbus A310, in direct competition. The 767 tanker transport selected by Japan is a military derivative of the 767-200ER commercial aircraft. It will be configured with an advanced air-refueling boom and an advanced remote aerial refueling operator system. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. The last of four tankers will be delivered to Japan by 2008 and become operational by 2010.
Japan's neighbors in the region were concerned that JASDF's aerial refueling capability might signal a renaissance of militarism. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force says that isn't the case, since the refueling does not infringe upon Japan's "exclusive defense" policy and does not become a threat to neighboring countries. Japan's refueling planes are not intended to fly long distances; instead they will allow ASDF's planes to remain airborne for longer periods.
On June 08, 2005 the first Boeing 767 airplane for the Japan Tanker Program arrived in Wichita today for conversion into a KC-767 tanker. The Japan Defense Agency (JDA) ordered the tanker to meet the aerial refueling and troop transport needs of the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF). The first Japan KC-767J is scheduled for delivery in December 2006.
On Jan. 26, 2008 Boeing made KC-767 program history when one if its aircrews successfully transferred fuel from a KC-767 tanker aircraft to an F-15E at night -- the first nighttime refueling ever accomplished on a KC-767. The new tanker, scheduled for delivery to Japan's Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), departed McConnell Air Force Base, adjacent to the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Wichita, Kan., facility, and flew a 3-hour and 9 minute flight. Operating in the skies over Missouri, the aircrew connected the KC-767s fifth-generation, fly-by-wire boom (a telescoping tube used to deliver fuel to military aircraft) to an F-15E 11 times during dusk and night conditions and successfully offloaded fuel before returning safely. The company uses F-15E1 under a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Air Force.
On Feb. 19, 2008 the Boeing Company delivered the first Japan KC-767 Tanker to the Itochu Corp., for Japan's Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). It is the first aerial refueling aircraft in Japan's history. "The KC-767 will have an immediate impact and significantly increase Japan's capabilities," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "This delivery also confirms Boeing's standing as the world's leading provider of aerial refueling tankers and continues our company's proud 75-year history of producing tankers."
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