“As detailed in its statement released today, the U.S. Air Force is moving its formal production decision on the KC-46 tanker program—known as Milestone C—from June 2016 to August 2016 to allow additional time to implement the solution to a refuelling boom loads issue identified during flight testing earlier this year.
The Air Force also released an updated projection from Boeing for initial KC-46 deliveries and the expected timing for delivery of the first 18 certified tanker aircraft, a milestone known as Required Assets Available (RAA). Due to ongoing complexities associated with qualification and certification of the aircraft’s centreline drogue and wing-aerial l pod (WARP) systems, and the previously announced higher volume of change incorporation to bring the first 18 aircraft up to the certification configuration, the first tanker delivery will move from March 2017 to August 2017 with the 18th aircraft delivered in January 2018.
The underlying production system remains on track, and Boeing will have more than 18 aircraft through the factory line and in various stages of final change incorporation and certification by August 2017. The first 18 aircraft will be equipped with refuelling boom and centreline drogue refuelling capabilities as well as all other contract required capability except WARPs. The WARP systems required to complete full contractual RAA will be delivered separately in October 2018.
Boeing continues to demonstrate its commitment to the USAF and the Tanker program with 5 aircraft now in test (including the first production aircraft), 7 aircraft in final production build, and 8 aircraft in the supply chain – up to tail number 20. The KC-46 Tanker will play a vital role in America’s Air Mobility Forces providing both global power projection and unrivalled global reach for decades to come.”
EVERETT, Wash., May 27, 2016