KC-46A progress toward summer milestones

Boeing’s KC-46A is moving ahead through milestones as summer approaches, despite being a the Sequestration “hit list” of programs that could be curtailed.

The USAF has previously said it wants to do all that it can to protect the program and the contract, seeking to avoid having to renegotiate the contract with Boeing.


  • The Puget Sound Business Journal has this article concerning the forthcoming NTSB hearing on the JAL 787 incident.
  • US Airways now has echoed Delta Air Lines, saying Sequestration hurt March bookings and last minute travel.
  • Buzz here in Seattle is that the 787 will fly another test flight today.
  • UBS tracks Dreamlifter flights to gauge 787 production rates and notes that more flights than ever are now occurring. From this, UBS infers 787 production will ramp up according to plan.

9 Comments on “KC-46A progress toward summer milestones

  1. It is very important the KC-46A program not fall to the sequestration “hit list”. But, I think it will because it is a very visible program, and politicians in both parties can claim they saved the $40B price tag of the entire program.

  2. Would Boeing prefer that the program is put on hold, and then the contract is renegotiated? I would think it would be better for the US government to keep the program as it is. Pay some now, instead of a lot more down the road under a new contract.


    • That is the best deal for the taxpayers, keep the current KC-46 program going as it is. Boeing will make money off it beginning with the second or third blocks of airplanes.

  3. Puget Sound Business Journal:

    Don’t expect FAA certification of Boeing’s lithium-ion battery fix for the 787 Dreamliner any sooner than April 24, the end of a planned two-day “investigative hearing” on the batteries by the National Transportation Safety Board.

    “Given the high-profile nature of what’s happening, and the fact that the NTSB is investigating the FAA certification process, it would be very impolitic for the FAA to return the 787 to certified status at least before they know what the NTSB has to say,” said Scott Hamilton, an aerospace analyst and president of Leeham Co. LLC.

    While the FAA and NTSB are separate from one another, the FAA has been under some political heat for certifying a battery system that proved to have far more shortcomings than the agency anticipated. This is why its own performance will be a subject of the hearings.

    The April 23-24 hearing, to be at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., will be an opportunity for the five-person NTSB board and a panel of another half-dozen technical experts to grill witnesses, including Boeing employees, FAA officials and a series of outside experts, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

    The event will be open to the public and transcripts of all testimony will be available several days after the event. The new data will eventually be compiled into a final report. Knudson could not say when that will be released.


  4. “UBS infers…”

    Current build rate is 5 per month…
    Boeing gudiance is 60+ deliveries in 2013, including ~15% from the EMC….
    That leaves 51+ airplanes delivered from new production…
    Continuing at the current rate of 5 per month would yield 60 aircraft for the year…

    If the rate was 5 per month end of 2012 and a ramp-up to 7 per month is imminent, but the guidance for the full year 2013 is *below* 5 per month on average – how does this infer a ‘ramp UP’?

    • As far as I have read, Boeing continues to stick to it’s production ramp-up plans. However, deliveries are a different story. With the grounding, Boeing is going to miss at least 3 months of flight test and delivery time likely more. It looks to me like they are going to run up their 787 inventory again this year until their flight test group can catch up.

    • I forgot to mention the rework for the new battery system that is going to have to be performed on the 23 frames that are ready for flight test, the 4 frames that were already undergoing flight test before the grounding (not including the LOT frame that already has the new battery system installed), and the 11 frames that are currently undergoing heavy modification/rework at the EMC. The bottom line is there’s a lot of catch-up work to do.

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