Boeing on Tuesday said it’s started to build parts for the new Air Force tanker at a factory at Boeing Field.
The company disclosed that it is now building the first refueling boom that actually transfers the fuel from the tanker to the plane receiving it.
Boeing says the boom will allow it to refuel any airplane any time and on any mission.
The company says the start of assembly marks the program's shift from design to production.
The company claims it is on track to deliver 18 combat-ready tankers by 2017. The first boom will be on a 767 tanker due to roll out of the Everett factory next summer.