The US Air Force and Boeing have agreed on a new schedule for the KC- 46A Pegasus tanker. The decision point for transition from current low-rate initial production – three lots have already been ordered – to full-rate production, which will ramp up to 15 aircraft per year, has been postponed from June 2017 to August 2019. Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, which had been planned to start in May last year, will now start this November.
The original deadline for Boeing to deliver 18 fully certified KC-46As had already been set back from August 2017 to October 2018, yet Boeing expects to deliver 18 aircraft, dubbed required assets available, (plus spare engines) to the US Air Force by February 2018. The delay to October reflects certification issues with the Wing Aerial Refueling Pod.
Under the terms of the Air Force’s fixed price contract with Boeing, the company has already paid more than $2 billion for overruns. Commenting of the situation earlier this year, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg optimistically said: “While we still have flight testing to go, it’s very clear now that we’re not discovering new testing risks. It’s now about getting the first 18 aircraft delivered.”