Boeing will likely push delivery of the US Air Force’s first KC-46 air-to-air refueling tanker to early 2018 from this year, as various problems have emerged during flight tests.
In May, KC-46 program manager Mike Gibbons said the first tanker would fly around October 2017 and soon after would be delivered to the Air Force. Boeing had committed to hand over the first 18 operational tankers to the Air Force by February 2018.
However, the tanker has missed flight testing and certification milestone. In addition, Boeing has witnessed instances of the extendable fuel boom scraping against the receiver aircraft, as well as two other category one deficiencies, according to online defense industry magazine Breaking Defense.
At an Air Force Association (AFA) conference near Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Air Force Gen. Carlton Everhart, the head of Air Mobility Command, was quoted as saying that he’s now hoping for first delivery in “early 2018”.
The paint scraping problem — formally known as “undetected contact” — by itself could “possibly” delay the new planes’ arrival at AMC, Gen Everhart said.
The other two deficiencies detailed by Lt. Gen. Bunch, the military deputy for Air Force acquisition, are “HF transmit turning off when we go into the refueling area” and “uncommanded boom extension” which appears to mean that the boom unexpectedly extends after it’s been withdrawn from the other aircraft.
Boeing along with US Air Force and Naval Air Systems Command representatives, recently completed KC-46 tanker electromagnetic testing. This testing evaluates the aircrafts ability to safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers and other systems under mission conditions, the company said in a statement Thursday
A new Boeing aerial refueling tanker KC-46A Pegasus is undergoing series of avionics tests in Benefield Anechoic Facility (BAF) to demonstrate that it meets Federal Aviation Administration certification requirements. The company wants the tanker aircraft to meet DOD electromagnetic environmental effects requirements for systems
Boeing has won a $2.1 billion contract from US Air Force for 15 KC-46A tanker aircraft, spare engines and wing air refueling pod kits
Boeing has been awarded a $2.8 billion contract for the acquisition of low-rate initial production (LRIP) of KC-46 tanker aircraft Lots 1 and 2 for the US Air Force
Boeing has been awarded a $101.8 million modification contract for initial common spares and readiness spares packages in support of production aircraft lots 1 and 2 for the KC-46 modernization program
Boeing has been awarded a $7.4 million modification contract for Phase III KC-46 tanker/receiver aerial refueling airplane simulator qualification data collection study
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