Boeing's delivery of its first KC-46 tanker to USAF is being delayed so that the company and program office can finish addressing what the head of Air Mobility Command called "category one" deficiences. Boeing photo.
The Air Force will not receive its first KC-46 this month as originally expected, while the program office and Boeing are still working to address five “category one” deficiencies that still need to be remedied, the head of Air Mobility Command said Friday.
The Air Force had long expected to receive its first KC-46 at McConnell AFB, Kan., this month, but Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said earlier this month that Boeing would not meet that deadline. AMC boss Gen. Maryanne Miller told reporters on Friday that McConnell is standing ready to receive the aircraft, but there is still work to be done by Boeing to address five category one deficiencies plaguing the aircraft’s boom system.
The KC-46 Program Office and Boeing meet weekly to address progress on the issues, and there is ongoing regular testing showing that “progress is being made.” However, AMC cannot yet say when the first Pegasus will be delivered. Boeing has said it still expects to deliver the first aircraft by the end of the year.
“We stand ready,” Miller said. “Aircrews are excited, we’re excited to get it.” Last week, McConnell posted a contract solicitation for support for a Nov. 16 ceremony, but AMC said that date was only for planning and that there is no schedule yet for the first aircraft to arrive.
Miller said she was able to fly on a KC-46 last month to get a first-hand view of the aircraft, and experience that was “invaluable,” she said. Now the program office and Boeing need to ensure that the aircraft is ready when it is delivered.