The Air Force on Jan. 20 awarded Boeing a $2.1 billion contract for the seventh KC-46 production lot, covering 15 aircraft.
The award means there are now 94 KC-46s on contract, and the Air Force plans to buy 179 of the aircraft. It comes just eight days after Boeing received $1.7 billion for production lot six. The two lots were negotiated at the same time, according to Boeing.
“Our KC-46 fleet is growing, and we’re ready to extend the reach of next-generation air refueling to more of our Airmen,” said Col. Jason Lindsey, U.S. Air Force KC-46 system program manager, in a Boeing release.
The contract also covers data, subscriptions and licenses, and the G081 flat file aircraft maintenance database, according to the contract announcement. Work is expected to be completed May 31, 2024.
Boeing has delivered 42 tankers so far to four Air Force bases since the first delivery took place in January 2019.
The award comes as the Air Force and Boeing are finishing the design of a new version of the aircraft’s remote vision system, which is the suite of cameras and sensors that the boom operator uses inside the aircraft to operate the refueling system. The fix, announced in April 2020, is needed to address image quality problems that have inhibited the test and evaluation process for the aircraft. Under the agreement, Boeing will deliver 12 aircraft kits by 2023 with installation on the production line expected to start the following year.