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Maturing the Boom: The EADS-built aerial refueling boom system that is an integral part of the Northrop Grumman/EADS KC-30 tanker design in the Air Force’s reopened KC-X tanker contest has completed its flight test and validation phase on a surrogate aircraft, Northrop Grumman announced Aug. 5. Completion of the test program confirmed the capabilities and maturity of the boom system, the company said. During 40 months of flight tests, the all-electric fly-by-wire boom, which was mounted on a EADS A310 test aircraft, accomplished 80 wet and dry contacts with receiver aircraft ranging from F-16 fighters to NATO AWACS platforms. Next up for the boom is final acceptance on the Royal Australian Air Force's first KC-30B tanker, slated for delivery to Australia in 2009.