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Two leading manufacturers of remotely piloted aircraft systems are nearing the goal of certifying unmanned aerial systems (UAV) for operation in the same airspace with manned aircraft, thus removing a major barrier to entry for drones that restricted the operation of large drones over the populated areas in Europe, Canada, and the USA. Elbit Systems of Israel and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. are the two forerunners in this field, followed by IAI and Northrop Grumman.
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force successfully completed the first flight of the KC-46 tanker test program Sunday 28 December 2014. The plane, a Boeing 767-2C, took off from Paine Field, Wash., at 9:29 a.m. (PST) and landed three hours and 32 minutes later at Boeing Field. The 767-2Cs enter flight test as commercial freighters prior to receiving their aerial refuelling systems, while the KC-46s will fly as fully equipped tankers through the FAA and military certification process.