Boeing delivered the last of four KC-767 tankers for the Japan Air Self Defence Force on January 8, a significant milestone for the delayed program, with Boeing partner Itochu Corp handing over the aircraft to Japanese Ministry of Defence officials.
The first Japanese KC-767 was handed over in February 2008, two years late due to development issues, the second in March 2008 and the third in March 2009. IOC was achieved in March 2009, while the KC-767 fleet continues to undergo operational evaluation by the JASDF, which should conclude early this year, according to Boeing. The aircraft are operated by the 1st Airlift Wing at Komaki air base.
Meanwhile, flight testing of three of the four KC-767s on order for the Italian air force continues. Deliveries of Italy’s four tankers (the fourth is currently undergoing its tanker conversion process) have been delayed over four years, in part due to a wing flutter issue. As well as a boom, Italy’s tankers, unlike Japan’s, are also fitted with hose and drogue wingtip pods and a centreline refuelling point.
Australia passed over the KC-767 in preference to the A330 MRTT (KC-30) in April 2004.