WICHITA, Kan., July 26 (UPI) -- The first forward fuselage section for Boeing's KC-46A tanker, being built for the U.S. Air Force, has been completed by Spirit AeroSystems Inc.
Completion of the forward fuselage was marked by a rollout ceremony at the company plant, which was attended by representatives of Boeing and the Air Force.
"We are proud to be part of the next generation of aerial refueling tankers, and to support our war fighters both home and abroad by providing this critical capability," said Kris Atcheson, KC-46 program director at Spirit AeroSystems. "Our integrated product team has been working for several years to design the next-generation tanker utilizing the latest design and manufacturing techniques to ensure the highest quality, performance and safety for Boeing and its end-user customer in the Air Force."
The KC-46 will replace the Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135R aerial refueling and tanker aircraft. Boeing will build 179 of the planes for the Air Force.
Spirit AeroSystems, a non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) of aero-structures for commercial aircraft, was contracted in 2011 to produce center fuselages, strut and nacelle components for the tanker, which is based on Boeing's 767 commercial aircraft.