The assembly line is located at Boeing Field in Seattle and opened on Tuesday.
"We're pleased that this facility opened on schedule," said Maureen Dougherty, KC-46 vice president and program manager for Boeing. "The KC-46A will feature a modernized fly-by-wire boom based on the proven system on the U.S. Air Force's KC-10 tanker, which will give it advanced refueling capabilities, allowing it to refuel any fixed-wing receiver aircraft anytime and on any mission."
Boeing begins production of the KC-46 next summer. It is a variant of the company's 767-200ER commercial aircraft and will replace the Air Force's KC-135 tankers. A total of 179 KC-46s will be produced for the Air Force.
The first 18 KC-46s are scheduled for delivery by 2017.
Boeing said the first KC-46 aerial refueling boom will enter testing in the third quarter of next year at a company System Integration Lab.