Emprise Delivers Air-to-Air Refueling Test Facility

The U.S. Air Force’s fleet of air to air refueling tanks depends primarily on the KC-135. This workhorse is a variant of the dependable Boeing 707 aircraft but the last one of those was delivered in 1965! That’s why its replacement, the KC-46 Pegasus is an Air Force priority.

The new KC-46 (a Boeing 767 variant) will feature larger fuel capacity and the ability to refuel all fixed wing receiver aircraft including simultaneous multi-point refueling. This is achieved by a combination of an advanced fly-by-wire boom and a 21st century centerline and wing-mounted hose and drogue systems.

Cobham Mission Systems of Davenport Iowa was selected to provide the centerline drogue system (CDS). Cobham contracted with Emprise Corporation of Kennesaw, Georgia for a turnkey ground test facility for developing the new CDS.

This new facility provides all of the electric and hydraulic power needed to operate the CSD. It also provides the full flow and pressure of fuel to simulate an air-to-air refueling (AAR) event.

More importantly, the AAR test rig can simulate various CDS mounting geometries while also simulating flight like dynamic forces on the deployed hose.

These tests are essential to demonstrate CDS performance and reliability prior to the scheduled KC-46 first flight in mid-2015.

Development and qualification test are currently underway in Davenport and all systems are “GO” for the new tanker!