Boeing delivered the last of the Chilean Air Force’s three KC-135E Stratotankers March 9 after all the aircraft completed Programmed Depot Maintenance in San Antonio, Texas.
The final aircraft arrived at Boeing’s San Antonio facility in June for the maintenance work, which included a variety of depot-level inspections, repairs, maintenance, modification and repainting.
The KC-135E was flown to Santiago, Chile, by a crew from the U.S. Defense Contract Management Agency’s 313th Flight Test Squadron.
“Boeing worked with the Chilean Air Force to incorporate lessons learned on the first and second aircraft to deliver the final KC-135 and return it to doing what it does best,” said Mike Wright, Boeing KC-135 program director. “This highly dependable aircraft is a critical resource to Chile for refueling missions and humanitarian assistance.”
KC-135 aircraft receive PDM after five years of service or 20,000 hours of flight time. Boeing has been performing PDM for the U.S. Air Force and other international customers at its San Antonio facility since 1998.
“Boeing continues to make significant investments in Lean processes that dramatically accelerate turnaround time, decrease cost and improve quality to better serve our customer,” said Wright.
The first Chilean Air Force KC-135 to go through PDM was delivered on Feb. 18, 2010, a week before an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile. The aircraft was immediately put into use to conduct humanitarian missions. Delivery of the second aircraft took place on Aug. 30, 2011, one day before the KC-135 marked its 55th anniversary of first flight.
The Chilean government purchased three KC-135 E-model aircraft on July 8, 2009, through the U.S. Air Force Foreign Military Sales Office at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.