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Smiths Aerospace and Boeing reach milestone in successful demonstration of WARP equipment for KC-767 Italian Tanker


Corona, CA – SMITHS Aerospace, part of the global technology business Smiths Group and aerial refueling systems supplier to The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) for the KC-767 aircraft, has successfully demonstrated extension and retraction of the refueling hoses from its Wing Aerial Refueling Pod (WARP) equipment during initial flight testing April 12. This follows the successful deployment of the Centerline Hose Drum Unit refueling equipment February 10. Boeing’s fifth-generation KC-767 Tanker is currently undergoing extensive flight testing at the Boeing IDS-Wichita facility.

“Smiths Aerospace’s wing-mounted refueling pods significantly advance the state-of-the-art in aerial refueling,” said David Bina, vice president of Tanker Programs at Smiths Aerospace. “The self-contained pod design includes a ram air turbine to generate hydraulic power, greatly reducing reliance on aircraft systems and facilitating efficient aircraft integration.”

“We’ve incorporated robust digital flight control law algorithms and advanced mechanical technologies to allow precise management of hose tension, enhancing hose stability and significantly reducing the possibility of hose whip – the leading cause of refueling incidents for probe and drogue refueling. These features make the Smiths’ WARP a true next generation product,” he added.

The inclusion of the centerline hose drum unit and the wing aerial refueling pods on the KC-767 provides for three-point hose and drogue refueling of probe-equipped receiver aircraft, allowing for simultaneous refueling of more than one receiver aircraft. Smiths’ highly responsive, hydraulically-powered hose reel systems (wing pods and centerline systems) have demonstrated dynamic hose response rates in excess of the required 10 feet per second refueling probe to drogue closure rate. A complete system solution, including the pylon, aircraft structures and internal hose drum electrical, hydraulic, and fuel subsystems, is integrated to provide highly reliable and easily maintained hose and drogue refueling systems.

“Smiths has provided the most advanced air refueling systems for our KC-767 flight test program,” said Mark McGraw, vice president, Boeing Tanker Programs. “The WARP hoses performed strongly and show the U.S. Air Force that our team is offering proven technology for their next-generation tanker.”

Smiths Aerospace also provides the aircraft’s aerial refueling boom actuation control system, which began flight testing in September 2006. The advanced system provides increased boom control and responsiveness compared to existing boom refueling systems, enabling aircraft to refuel more safely and easily in all weather conditions.

Boeing will deliver the KC-767 to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force in early 2007. In addition to flight-testing the KC-767 for international customers, Boeing is competing for a contract to build the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker aircraft.


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