US Air Force takes delivery of first KC-46 tanker




A Boeing KC-46A (left) conducts tests in this 2015 file photo
A Boeing KC-46A (left) conducts tests in this 2015 file photo  

Washington (AFP) - The US Air Force on Thursday took delivery of its first KC-46A Pegasus tanker, though the new type of aerial refueler remains beset with technical problems and is not fully operational.

Boeing's tanker will eventually replace the Air Force's aging line of KC-135 tankers, which were manufactured during the Cold War.

But the KC-46 has suffered setbacks and cost overruns, largely stemming from a problem with the "remote vision" system. Unlike older tankers, boom operators in the KC-46 do not have a direct line of sight to the plane that is being refueled.

Instead, they must rely on a system of cameras and monitors.

In some cases, boom operators have struggled with depth of field and image quality, and accidentally scraped the skin of the plane being refueled.

In a statement, the Air Force said Boeing has agreed to fix problems with the remote vision system at its own expense -- not the taxpayer's.

"The Air Force has mechanisms in place to ensure Boeing meets its contractual obligations while we continue with initial operational testing and evaluation," Air Force spokeswoman Captain Hope Cronin said.

Even though the plane is not fully operational, pilots and airmen can still train with it, she added.

"This is a major milestone for our next generation tanker and will allow our airmen to begin operational testing and flight training," Cronin said.

Boeing in 2011 beat its European rival Airbus to replace the KC-135 with the newer KC-46.

The Air Force plans to buy 179 KC-46s over the course of the program. The first deliveries had been expected in 2017.

Boeing has had to pay about $3.5 billion in pre-tax cost overruns, according to Defense News.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Boeing successfully completes test flight of air taxi prototype
Boeing successfully completes test flight of air taxi prototype

Boeing, which is working with Uber on flying taxis, successfully completed the first test of its prototype autonomous passenger air vehicle.

Boeing
Boeing's passenger air vehicle prototype rises into the sky for its first test flight

Boeing says it has successfully completed the first test flight of a prototype for its autonomous passenger air vehicle, which could start carrying riders as early as next year. The test was executed on Tuesday at an airport in Manassas, Va., near the headquarters of Aurora Flight Sciences, the Boeing subsidiary that's been developing the electric-powered, vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft, also known as an eVTOL craft. Boeing NeXt, the business unit that leads Boeing's urban air mobility efforts, is in charge of the test program. Tuesday's uncrewed flight involved a controlled takeoff, hover and landing, which tested the prototype's autonomous functions… Read More

Meet Boeing
Meet Boeing's New F-15X Fighter: Is This the F-35s Worst Nightmare?

F-15s are better-suited to performing long-endurance air defense patrols than the F-35 or F-16, and could free up the pricey F-22 and F-35s for critical frontline roles. Is this enough of a reason to buy the new F-15X?

Boeing and Machinists Union tussle over automation
Boeing and Machinists Union tussle over automation's effect on quality assurance

Boeing's moves to automate its manufacturing processes and streamline the quality assurance process for its airplanes has sparked discussions with union officials over the effect on jobs. The controversy came to light in the current issue of Aero Mechanic - the newspaper published by the International Association of Machinists' District 751, which represents Boeing assembly workers - and in The Seattle Times. Union leaders are concerned about a Boeing campaign known as "Quality Transformation," which relies on automated processes such as robotic riveting and precision machining to cut down on manufacturing defects. Boeing says such processes make airplane assembly more...

Stealth Shocker: China Claims It Can Track Air Force F-22 Raptors
Stealth Shocker: China Claims It Can Track Air Force F-22 Raptors

No more stealth?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.