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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Air Force announces further delays in Boeing aerial refueling tanker

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 17, 2018

KC-46 refuels A-10 during Milestone C test. (John D. Parker / Boeing via Air Force)
KC-46 refuels A-10 during Milestone C test. (John D. Parker / Boeing via Air Force)
From wire reports

Boeing is further delaying its delivery of the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker to the Air Force, Bloomberg reports.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Bloomberg that the Air Force was meeting with the company Wednesday to determine the path forward with their $4.9 billion dollar 2011 contract.

“I’m not angry about it,” Wilson told Bloomberg. “We have some deficiencies that we are working through with Boeing to make sure those are corrected” and that the aircraft “we get flies, tanks, defends itself and does what it’s supposed to do.”

Today’s announcement is only the latest in program delays for the tanker program. In 2016, Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, executive officer for the Air Force’s tanker program, cited “technical challenges with boom design, and issues with certification of the centerline drogue system and wing air refueling pods have driven delays to low rate production approval and initial aircraft deliveries.”

In a statement, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said that the discussion at the meeting was, “art of our productive dialogue with the Air Force and will help lead us to delivering this essential new air refueling capability during the fourth quarter.”

The government entered into a new contract with Boeing in late February. President Donald Trump negotiated a separate, $3.9 billion contract with Boeing known as “Air Force One.”

Boeing, in a statement, said it is “proud to build the next generation of Air Force One, providing American Presidents with a flying White House at outstanding value to taxpayers.”

The informal agreement included two 747-800 aircraft modified to include external stair, large galleys and a secure communications suite, among others.

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