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Boeing KC-767 Tanker Extends Wing Refueling Hoses for First Time


The Boeing [NYSE: BA] KC-767A Tanker reached another significant test milestone April 12 when its aircrew successfully extended and retracted the left and right Wing Aerial Refueling Pod (WARP) hoses for the first time.

The flight marks the beginning of a series of in-flight tests --at various speeds and altitudes --that will demonstrate the hose’s stability and result in using the WARP hoses to offload fuel to various aircraft.

“Extending both WARP hoses is a significant step forward not just for our air force, but for other nations that use hose and drogue refueling,” said Lt. Col. Roberto Poni, Italian Air Force on-site liaison. “The Italian KC-767 will provide an unmatched multi-point air refueling capability for many years to come.”

When using the WARPs, the tanker aircraft trails from either wing a hose with a drogue (basket) attached to the end. The receiver aircraft uses a probe to connect to the basket and take on valuable fuel, allowing its aircrew to complete their mission. When fully functional, each WARP can simultaneously refuel multiple aircraft and offload 400 gallons of fuel per minute.

“Now that we transferred fuel through our fifth-generation boom, extended and retracted our Hose Drum Unit and demonstrated our WARP capability, it’s quite clear that we can deliver a proven, lowest-risk solution for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker,” said Ron Marcotte, vice president and general manager of Boeing Global Mobility Systems. “These highly advanced refueling systems, created by Smiths Aerospace, are flying today and will be key components on the KC-767 Advanced Tanker.”

Boeing has produced nearly 2,000 tankers in its history and currently is building four KC-767 tankers each for Italy and Japan.


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