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Pratt & Whitney, one of the operating segments of diversified business conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX - Analyst Report), recently delivered the first PW4062 engine for the pioneer KC-46 test aircraft built by The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report). The production of the engines is part of the KC-46 Tanker Program, which aims to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers – the primary refueling aircraft for nearly half a century.

Revolutionizing the air mobility mission, the wide-bodied multi-role KC-46 tanker has the ability to refuel all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures at any time on any mission. In addition, the aircraft is adept to carry passengers, cargo and patients, with the ability to detect, avoid, defeat and survive threats using multiple layers of protection in medium-threat environments.

Each KC-46A aircraft will be powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4062 engines. Subject to the successful execution of the KC-46 Tanker Program, Pratt & Whitney is likely to produce 368 PW4062 engines for delivery between 2013 and 2027. However, the quantum of actual production may vary over the life of the program and will be decided by future purchase orders from U.S. Air Force and Boeing.

Boeing is currently assembling four prototype aircraft for initial flight tests. These aircraft will be delivered as part of the initial order of 18 combat-ready tankers to the Air Force by Aug 2017. The first test aircraft is expected to roll out of the factory in Jan 2014, followed by the second in March.

Pratt & Whitney is among the world’s leading suppliers of aircraft engines for the commercial, military, business jet and general aviation markets. Pratt & Whitney’s Global Services provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services, including the sale of spare parts, as well as fleet management services for large commercial engines.

Based in Hartford, Conn., the parent company United Technologies provides high-end technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries worldwide. The company is a diversified business conglomerate serving various end markets such as aerospace, defense and commercial construction. The business diversification allows the company to remain profitable amid tough economic times.

The operations of the company are primarily classified into two principal businesses: commercial and aerospace. Under its commercial business, the company has Otis and the UTC Climate, Controls & Security division, which combined the former Carrier and UTC Fire & Security divisions. The aerospace business of the company consists of Sikorsky aircraft and the UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems, which includes UTC Aerospace Systems and Pratt & Whitney divisions.

United Technologies presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other notable companies in the industry include ITT Corp. (ITT - Analyst Report) and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (HUWHY), both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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