Aug. 14, 2016: The Pentagon cleared Boeing’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) after the aircraft completed Milestone C refueling tests.
All that remains now is for the US Air Force and Boeing to execute the contracts.
This is welcome news for Boeing and the USAF.
The Air Force continues to operate Boeing KC-135 refueling tankers, a design from the 1950s. The last KC-135 was delivered in 1965.
The Air Force entertained replacing the KC-135 in 2001. It was 10 years before the KC-X replacement contract was award, to Boeing. The initial flight test aircraft program is $2bn over budget (pre-tax) and about a year late–but at this point, it appears that the LRIP for 19 aircraft should not encounter more obstacles.