Boeing award $2.8 billion for KC-46A tanker initial production
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing $2.8 billion on Aug. 18 for KC-46A tanker low-rate initial production.
August 22, 2016 By Boeing
The award includes the first two “production lots” of seven and 12 planes respectively, as well as spare parts. Including future options, Boeing plans to build a total of 179 of the 767-based refuelling aircraft for the Air Force to replace their KC-135 fleet.
“The KC-46 tanker will provide the Air Force unprecedented refuelling 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.”
This step forward follows a Defense Acquisition Board review and announcement that the KC-46 program completed “Milestone C” — a set of required ground- and flight-test tests – and is approved for initial production. Those tests included refuelling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, KC-10, C-17 and A-10 aircraft and a cargo handling demo.
Boeing received an initial contract in 2011 to design and develop the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker aircraft. As part of that contract Boeing built four test aircraft – two configured as 767-2Cs and two as KC-46A tankers. The test aircraft have completed more than 1,000 flight hours to date.
The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.
Boeing is assembling KC-46 aircraft at its Everett, Wash., facility. The company will begin delivering tankers to the Air Force in 2017.