Boeing receives first contracts for KC-46A production

Aug. 18, 2016: Boeing received the first two contracts for production of the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker, the company announced.

From the press release:

EVERETT, Wash., Aug. 18, 2016 – The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing [NYSE: BA] $2.8 billion on Aug. 18 for KC-46A tanker low-rate initial production.

The award includes the first two “production lots” of 7 and 12 planes respectively, as well as spare parts. Including future options, Boeing plans to build a total of 179 of the 767-based refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace their KC-135 fleet.

“The KC-46 tanker will provide the Air Force unprecedented refueling capabilities, operational flexibility and combat readiness,” said Leanne Caret, Boeing Defense, Space & Security president and CEO. “It’s an important day for the company and program. We’re excited about building low-rate initial production aircraft, and it’s only possible because of the hard work of the joint Boeing-Air Force team.”

10 Comments on “Boeing receives first contracts for KC-46A production

  1. “We’re excited about building low-rate initial production aircraft” says Boeing- since its de-rigeur to be excited about everything these days.
    US taxpayers would be more excited about how much penalty payments they are getting for a late contract that isnt fully compliant ( functioning centre line drogue).

  2. Dont think this new hardware issue has been raised here
    “The Air Force is weighing what penalties it should apply to Boeing for the delay to the KC-46 tanker program. Meanwhile, Boeing has abandoned efforts to fix a problem with the tanker’s refueling boom using software and will instead modify the boom.” Seattle Times.
    So the LRIP contract is signed but neither of the refueling systems is workable yet. ?
    Whats the bet when the WARPs are added more ‘unforseen’ problems will emerge

    • they fixed the boom issue with a hardware fix months ago. then they went out and refueled a c-17 to prove the fix.

      the drogue problem is not a technical problem, the drogues work just fine. it is a paperwork problem since everything is being certified to FAA standards, not military and the sub who makes the drogue system screwed up their compliance paperwork.

      • I’m glad someone else gets this. It’s pretty clear from various articles and photographs that the WARPS has been as well tested to date as the centerline drogue and the boom.

    • They fixed the boom fueling system using the old working tech, pressure relief valves.

      I have yet to see where the contract calls for penalty payments.

      Boeing picks up the tab (taxpayers do) but USAF pays no more.

      • Repeat, aim skeptical that the drogue issue is just an FAA issue.

        Center works and is ok but wing does not and its all parts approval?


        Fishier than US swimmers in Brazil.

        • As far as I can understand, the wing drogues are of the shelf items from Cobham. It’s hard to see what could go wrong with them and even if there is a problem, it’s fairly well insulated from the airframe. 2years seems an awfully long time to sort out the paperwork. The centreline is a serious engineering challenge and not enough time has been allowed, problems are only to expected. It’s a procurement issue for the US that work doesn’t seem to of started until the whole system contract was awarded

  3. Let me start with that I’d like to see Boeing thrive. However, what will it take to wake this Boeing board UP? You let management bid the tanker with supposedly a ZERO profit margin, because their/you’re “running scared” of Airbus. Then The Boeing Management Company incurs $1.9 billion in AFTER TAX net losses to date on just this program. Why haven’t Muilenberg, Caret, and a whole host of other Boeing execs been cashiered by the Board over these issues by this point? (Leaving aside the whole issue of extended 787 program debacles. “The flaming, cash-eating Nightmare-liner that’s almost crippled Boeing”.) And how about the Board get busy with their lawyers on a “clawbacks” on McNerney’s stock and pension? Well, they’re leaving the shareholders with little choice but to look at heavy dollar class action suits. Anybody out there want to try and defend any of these folks? (And, please, by the way, somebody “muzzle” Muilenberg whenever he spouts off about the future profitability of this program!)

  4. Less than a week between final approval and contract issue! The pump must have been well primed. Makes sense for a high visibility program. It’s a shame the government can’t do as well on anything else.

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