The Boeing Company announced that three KC-767J aerial refueling tankers recently achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and have been placed in an active air wing in the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
“This is a historic achievement for the nation of Japan and a significant accomplishment for Boeing’s tanker program,” said Dave Bowman, vice president and general manager of Boeing Tanker Programs. “These wide-body KC-767Js are now providing the JASDF with its own aerial refueling capability for the first time in history, while improving its ability to deliver passengers or cargo.”
Officials with the Japan Ministry of Defense and JASDF officially designated the KC-767J tankers "operational" during an April ceremony at Komaki Air Base, Japan, after the aircraft successfully completed a yearlong technical evaluation.
The third of four KC-767J tankers ordered by Japan was ferried from Boeing’s Wichita, Kan., modification facility and delivered on time and within budget to the JASDF in March. The first two tankers were delivered to Japan in February and March 2008.
Boeing is scheduled to transfer the fourth Japan tanker to the company's partner Itochu in December for delivery to the Ministry of Defense in the first quarter of 2010. Final work on that tanker is taking place at the Wichita modification center.
The KC-767 tanker, a military derivative of the proven Boeing 767-200 commercial airplane, features the company's advanced aerial refueling boom and Remote Aerial Refueling Operator II system. Japan's tankers are convertible tanker/freighter KC-767Js, which provide flexibility in carrying cargo or passengers while maintaining their primary role as aerial refueling tankers.
“Delivery of the first KC-767J aerial refueling tankers, and their achievement of IOC status just a few weeks after the arrival of Japan 3, are great milestones,” Bowman said. “Boeing has KC-767 international tankers that have been built, flown, tested, certified, delivered and in operational service today.”
Boeing also has two KC-767 tankers in comprehensive flight test for the Italian Air Force (ITAF) and is performing modification work on two additional ITAF tankers. The first tanker for Italy is scheduled for delivery this year.