August 2012

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Boeing's NewGen 767 tanker to feature 787-style flight deck

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Boeing has (unsurprisingly) announced that it will bid on the KC-X tanker contract to replace the KC-135 tanker. It's choice, dubbed the NewGen Tanker, is based on the 767, but aspects of the design may pull from multiple variants of the twin-jet, including the wings, doors, flaps and cargo deck. Included in this design is the addition of winglets for improvement in cruise endurance as well.

In the front of the aircraft, Boeing has opted to incorporate a 787-style flight deck with four 15.1in LCD displays (see above). Also added are two cursor control devices like those first introduced on the 777 in 1995. Missing from the NewGen 767 is the fifth, a multi-function display found on the 787, leaving the original twin-flight management computers. 

The 767 has gotten periodic flight deck upgrades for different variants, including a 777-style upgrade with the 767-400ER. The KC-767 initially drew from this design, but has now been upgraded for the tanker bid with the most-updated 787 large-display format.

Sales prospects for commercial 767s will be further limited as 787 begins deliveries, but the question becomes, will the 787-style displays on tanker ever find its way into non-military production on a Next Generation 777? What about a re-engined 737? Southwest already has plans to upgrade its 737-300s with the larger displays.

That question ultimately rests on ITAR regulations, however if a commercial platform gets the flight deck first, then the flow of technology to the tanker could be unimpeded.

Photos Credit Boeing

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