*Sources: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - June 19, 2009: As they wait for their first, much delayed Boeing 767 tanker from Boeing, Italian Air Force officials have borrowed a line from late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to nickname the aircraft "I have a dream." The number of armed forces around the world buying air-to-air refuelling tankers has steadily grown in recent decades. With many of the aircraft currently utilised, mostly Boeing 707 conversions and KC-135s, needing replacing and a number of other countries showing interest in this capability, both Boeing and Airbus have expended considerable resources to capture orders. The latter manufacturer has so far failed to win any competitions for new-build aircraft, while Boeing with its 767 Tanker Transport has been selected by three countries, Italy, Japan and the USA. Second-hand 767-300ERs are also in the running as the UK’s next tanker aircraft. The new moniker for the officially titled Italy One was revealed by Italian Air Force deputy chief of staff Gen. Giuseppe Bernardis, who added that Italy's fourth and final tanker, known as Italy Four, is being referred to as "Yes we can." "It's a way of auguring an early delivery," Bernardis said. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Boeing officials said the first tanker, which originally was slated for delivery in 2005, should be ready to undergo a Tender for Acceptance process by the Italian Air Force this summer, following the completion of FAA certification. Three of the tankers are ready, said Dave Bowman, vice president of tanker programs at Boeing, and a fourth is undergoing modifications. A series of technical problems, including a flutter problem on wing pods, have held up delivery. Three 767 tankers without wing pods have been delivered to second tanker customer Japan. Bowman said penalty payments to Italy for late delivery are still under discussion.
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