posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 08:31 PM
The Air Force has provided more details, and it appears that two of the three aren't as big a concern as originally thought.
There is currently a study going on to gather data as to how often the boom scrapes with the current tanker fleet. The big concern here is that the
boom operator is supposed to notify the pilot of the receiver any time the boom makes contact outside the slipway. In several of the tests with the
KC-46, the boom operator didn't notice the scraping and it wasn't discovered until later. They have yet to refuel a stealth aircraft.
The second issue is with the HF radio. When the tanker goes into A/R mode, the HF is supposed to shut down and stay shut down. This reduces the risk
of a spark between the boom and the receiver. The concern here is that the HF stays off once it's off. Testing will be done in October, and if
confirmed that it won't come back on if there's a problem, they will close this problem out.
The third problem is an uncommanded extension of the boom. During ground testing, the fuel flow through the boom caused the boom to extend into the
test stand being used as a receiver stand in. The stand isn't designed to withstand the same pressure as a receiver aircraft, and this is similar to
what is seen with current tankers. If there's a sudden disconnect by the receiver and the boom is pulled up and away, the boom will extend because of
the pressure. This will also be examined in October and if not a problem, closed out.