Boeing is being awarded by the government to go on a project of building 179 of the 767-based airborne tankers to substitute the ancient Boeing KC-135 fleet for the Air Force. Boeing is being awarded around $2.8 billion for a low rate production contract of the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker. The first two production lots are also being awarded by the government, the first production lot is estimated to be 7 planes and the second lot is estimated to be 12 planes. This includes any necessary spare equipment needed for the aircrafts.
Once these two lots have been processed and made available, then the next step would be to run some tests. These tests are going to determine if the planes are fit for production or not. Some of these tests actually include the testing the Boeing KC-46 aircrafts in air and re-fueling some aircrafts such as the KC-10, C-17, A-10 and the F-16 fighter jet in the air to see if the plane is fit for production.
Boeing is estimating to have its first low rate initial production Pegasus in August 2017, this means that Boeing are going to miss one of the contractual milestones of delivering 18 aircrafts to the US government by August 2017. Just like any production projects whether it was in the aircraft industry or it was in the automotive industry; delays are expected to happen to ensure the quality of the work is being kept. However; they have set a date to deliver 18 aircrafts by January of 2018. Some of the issues Boeing is having are concerning hardware and focused on the flying boom. Any modifications that was needed is clearly evident after the regression testing with the F-16 back in July.
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