Despite New KC-46 Deficiencies, Air Force Still Working Toward October Delivery Date

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Air Force continues to work with Boeing [BA] to receive the first deliveries of KC-46A Pegasus next-generation aircraft by the target October deadline, despite new deficiencies revealed during testing, the new Air Mobility Command (AMC) commander said Tuesday.

Gen. Maryanne Miller, who assumed command of AMC less than two weeks ago, told reporters that the command is working closely with the Air Force’s mobility program office to address the new technical issues during a roundtable discussion at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber Convention here.

A KC-46 tanker refuels an F/A-18 fighter during testing. (Boeing photo)

A KC-46 tanker refuels an F/A-18 fighter during testing. (Boeing photo)

“The original delivery date… is scheduled for Oct. 27, and we will continue to work with Boeing through the program office to see if that date is achievable, and we will just continue to work with Boeing on the way ahead with the deficiencies,” Miller said. The issues, first reported Monday by Defense News, are considered category-1 problems and involve the aircraft’s refueling boom system.

Boeing said in an emailed statement that the company continues to work with the Air Force to “understand their concerns and determine a path forward.”

“These are not safety of flight issues and we are confident in the unmatched capabilities of the KC-46 tanker aircraft,” the statement said. The company has completed more than 4,000 contacts during flights with a variety of aircraft as it pursues flight receiver certification, including with the F-16 and F/A-18 fighter jets, the AV-8B Harrier ground attack aircraft, the C-17 transport aircraft, KC-10 tanker and A-10 attack aircraft, the company said.

“The refueling system has been tested extensively – we have a well-tested system that works,” it added in the statement.

Boeing received a contract modification on Sept. 10 to build the fourth lot of KC-46 aircraft worth $2.9 billion. (Defense Daily, Sept. 10)

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