Given the low production rate, it's almost amazing how many aircraft have been built already. The photo below doesn't even include all aircraft.
First flight was over two years ago and I expect Boeing has been producing around one a month since so that would be at least two dozen. The original plan was to have the first 18 delivered by August of last year and Boeing planned to have at least 22 frames either completed or in outfitting by then, so a year on from that...
I believe the USAF has approved a total of 34 frames via LIRP through mid-2019 at the moment so I expect we're probably getting up to that number by now.
That's crazy! Going to be a lot of movement and flying once certification is achieved.
Interesting time for a new presser ( http://boeing.mediaroom.com/2017-12-05- ... rst-Flight
) to come out:
EVERETT, Wash., Dec. 5, 2017 – [b]The first Boeing [NYSE: BA] KC-46A tanker that will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year successfully completed its first flight and airborne tests today
, taking off from Paine Field at 10:32 a.m. PST and landing approximately three-and-one-half hours later.
During the flight, Boeing test pilots took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. Prior to subsequent flights, the team will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation.
“We’re very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities
, but the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more.”
The newest tanker is the KC-46 program’s seventh aircraft to fly to date
. The previous six are being used for testing and certification
and to date have completed 2,200 flight hours and more than 1,600 “contacts” during refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.
So, of all those frames stacked up like cordwood at KPAE, only 7 have flown.