Boeing opened its KC-46 Boom Assembly Center at Boeing Field in Seattle on Oct. 16, announced the company. Assembly of the first boom for an Air Force KC-46A tanker is scheduled to commence this week at the facility, marking the shift to production from boom design activities, states the company’s release. “We’re pleased that this facility opened on schedule,” said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing’s KC-46 vice president and program manager. “The KC-46A will feature a modernized fly-by-wire boom based on the proven system on the US Air Force’s KC-10 tanker, which will give it advanced refueling capabilities, allowing it to refuel any fixed-wing receiver aircraft anytime and on any mission.” Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the Air Force’s tanker program executive officer and KC-46 program director, called the center’s opening “a big day” for the KC-46 program and the Air Force. “Boeing continues to make good progress toward delivering the KC-46 tanker on schedule,” he said. The first boom is slated to enter testing in the third quarter of 2013, states the release. (See also In a Good Place.)