WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- The critical design review of the KC-46 aerial refueler and transport weapon system has been completed by Boeing and the U.S. Air Force.
The review was the latest in a series of design reviews on components and sub-systems, leaving only a few more to be conducted in advance of a September deadline.
"The efforts by the combined Boeing and Air Force team to get to this point in the program development have been tremendous," said USAF Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the program executive officer for tankers. "For the warfighter, completion of this milestone is a big step forward toward beginning the recapitalization of the Air Force's legacy KC-135 fleet, delivering advanced and improved multimission capabilities to the fight on day one."
Once the critical design reviews are completed, Boeing will begin fabrication of the aircraft and hardware and software integration. Boeing is to produce 179 KC-46 Tankers for the Air Force.
The first 18 are to be delivered by 2017 with the balance by 2028.