The Boeing KC-46 team on Friday began assembling Japan’s first next-generation tanker, loading a 82.4-foot (25 meters) long wing spar in the company’s 767 production facility.
“This is an exciting day for the program and we look forward to building and delivering these multi-role tankers to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF),” said Jamie Burgess, Boeing vice president and KC-46 program manager. “From the enhanced flight deck to the modernized boom, this tanker will provide unmatched capabilities for Japan.”
Boeing was awarded a Foreign Military Sale contract for one KC-46A aircraft and logistics services in December 2017. The U.S. Air Force exercised an option for Japan’s second aircraft in December 2018.
Boeing is assembling KC-46A aircraft for both the U.S. Air Force and Japan on its 767 production line in Everett. Following initial assembly, workers install the tanker’s military unique systems at the site’s Modification Center. The jets are then flight tested at Boeing Field prior to delivery.