December 3, 2018 / 7:25 PM / in 9 days

Boeing KC-46 tankers complete phase two receiver certification testing

FILE PHOTO: Boeing's KC-46 aerial refueling tanker conducts receiver compatibility tests with a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Seattle, Washington, U.S., July 12, 2016. Christopher Okula/ U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) - Boeing Co’s KC-46 mid-air refueling tanker program has completed its planned phase two receiver certification flight testing with various military aircraft, the company said on Monday.

The phase two certification sets the stage for initial operational test and evaluation next year of KC-46, which has troubled Boeing for years as it struggled to get airworthiness certifications and complete flight tests.

“We are seeing great progress in both test and production and expect the positive momentum to continue as we begin delivering aircraft,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46 tanker vice president and program manager.

Phase three certification testing will be conducted by the U.S. Air Force in 2019 with additional military planes other than those that participated in the phase two testing, which included F-16, F-15E and C-17, Boeing said.

The planemaker is currently on contract for the first 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force, the Chicago-based company said.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru

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