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EVERETT, Wash., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Assembly has started on the second Boeing KC-46A tanker for the U.S. Air Force, two months after work began on the first.
Initial assembly efforts started last week involved loading the aircraft's wing spar into an Automated Spar Assembly Tool. The wing spar is the main structural component of the wing and provides critical support for flight loads and the weight of the wings.
The aircraft is the second of four Engineering, Manufacturing and Development test aircraft.
The U.S. Air Force is a step closer to getting its first next-generation KC-46A aerial refueling tanker after production of the aircraft began this week, the Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) said in a statement released on Thursday.
“Completing production of the four test aircraft on schedule is our priority as we prepare to enter the flight test phase of the program,” said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the U.S. Air Force Program Executive Officer for Tankers. “The program continues to meet or exceed all contract milestones.”
The first test aircraft is expected to roll out of the factory in January of 2014, and the second test aircraft is expected to leave the factory in March.
Boeing’s Vice President, Maureen Dougherty, said the production of the tanker is on schedule and in a year from now all four test aircraft will be out of the factory.