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Successful Test-Flights for B767 Converted into Tanker Using Fly-by-Wire (FBW) System


Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) recently performed successful test-flights on a B767-300ER aircraft, equipped with an advanced Fly-by-Wire (FBW) boom refueling system.

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Fly-by-wire (FBW) is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires, and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control surface to provide the ordered response.

The new, added FBW boom capability, for this specific type of aircraft, joins and enhances the company’s extensive experience in converting tens of aircraft (B767, B707, C130, and IL-78) into tankers or multi mission tanker/transport (MMTT) platforms, for more than 12 customers worldwide, including the Israel Air Force (IAF).

IAI’s innovative concept is based on conversion of pre-owned 767 passenger aircraft .The low utilization rate of MMTT platforms compared to commercial passenger aircraft translates into a continued long-term service life at a considerably lower Life Cycle Cost than for new aircraft. As part of the conversion a major part of the structure, wiring and systems are replaced, upgraded or refurbished. New engines, new military avionics including a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and new self-protection systems can also be offered, tailored to the customer’s specific requirements. The operational and technological experience gained from IAF and IAI’s other customers has been taken into consideration and utilized in the design and development of the new generation B767-300ER MMTT.

An IAI B767-200ER MMTT has been converted for the Colombian Air Force (CAF) and is performing successfully in all CAF support missions which include: air-refueling, troop and cargo transport, and presidential (VIP) transport worldwide. From 2012-2013, the B767 MMTT performed successfully in the US Red Flag, Canadian Maple Flag and Brazilian Cruzex exercises.

IAI is currently also offering MMTT platforms based on converted B767-300ER. This version, with over 400, 000 lbs MTOW, can carry over 200, 000 lbs. of fuel, additional troops and extra cargo pallets. IAI is continuously looking at improving and upgrading its Tanker/Transport aircraft and can offer a “Smart Tanker” version which performs additional tasks while in the air, such as: ELINT, SIGINT, and ESM, or serve as a communications hub or as a Command & Control post.

In the picture: IAI’s Bedek Aviation Group’s B767 during a FBW boom system test-flight



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