Under the Microscope

The Air Force is “microscopically” watching Boeing to make sure the company delivers what it promises with the KC-46A tanker contract, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told lawmakers Thursday. “The level of approval for engineering change orders is not going to be at the program-office level,” Schwartz told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added, “We haven’t decided where it will be yet. It might be at [the USAF leadership] level, but the bottom line is we intend to maintain discipline on this . . . like you would expect.” The Air Force late last month awarded Boeing the contract to supply up to 179 767-based KC-46A tankers to replace the service’s oldest KC-135s. Boeing beat out EADS North America’s A330-based KC-45 model. EADS opted not to protest the award, but company officials said they will be standing by to step in if Boeing can’t deliver.