Northrop Grumman Completes Aerial Tanker Test Flights

Second aircraft that Northrop Grumman has designated for the U.S. Air Force KC-45 aerial refueling tanker program has completed its final check flight.

MELBOURNE, Fla. -- The second aircraft that Northrop Grumman Corporation has designated for the U.S. Air Force KC-45 Tanker program completed its final check flight May 15, illustrating the rapid production capability that will allow Northrop Grumman to quickly replace the aging KC-135 Tanker fleet.

"The Northrop Grumman KC-45 Tanker team is ready now -- and having two aircraft set for modification reinforces our commitment to the Air Force," said Paul Meyer, vice president of Air Mobility Systems for Northrop Grumman. "Our nation's airmen have needed new tankers for nearly a decade now. We cannot afford to delay this replacement program any longer."

This aircraft, designated SDD-2, follows the first KC-45 Tanker airframe (SDD-1), which was completed in July 2007 and performed its maiden flight Sept. 25, 2007. Both SDD-1 and SDD-2 will be outfitted with in-flight refueling systems and additional military-specific equipment.

"We now have the first two KC-45 airframes complete, and we're ready to get to work as soon as the stop work order is lifted," Meyer said. "While other companies continue to move manufacturing off shore, our approach reverses that trend, creates 48,000 aerospace jobs in the United States and brings an enormous amount of work share into the country."

Northrop Grumman's KC-45 is based on the Royal Australian Air Force's KC-30B Multi-role Tanker, which is on schedule for delivery in early 2009. The United States is the fifth straight country to select the A330-based tanker for its Air Force.

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