Boeing says it will miss its 2017 calendar year target to deliver the first KC-46A Pegasus to the US Air Force.
In a December 6 report in Defense News, Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense and Security said, “We’re not going to be delivering a tanker this year.” The report follows the first flight of the first production KC-46A on December 4.
Converted from the commercial 767-2C freighter, the KC-46A has suffered developmental and production delays, and is now more than 14 months behind schedule. The company is currently contractually obliged to have delivered the first 18 KC-46As by October 2018, a slip from the original deadline of August 2017. Further, only nine Cobham hose and drogue refuelling pods are planned to be available by next October, meaning most aircraft will be restricted to refuelling from the boom only.
“This has been a focus of mine since I’ve taken over this role,” Ms Caret said. “The team has been persistent, they have a lot of grit, they’re continuing to drive it. We are extremely close, we will be delivering those in 2018 and there is no doubt in my mind that this is a great franchise for the Boeing Company and we are delivering an incredible capability to the United States Air Force and to the world.”
The KC-46A was selected ahead of the Airbus A330 MRTT in 2011 to fulfil the USAF’s KC-X requirement to replace the oldest elements of its KC-135 fleet, and 179 KC-46s are currently on order.