Boeing's KC-46 tanker program, long waylaid by technical issues, is now facing more "category one" deficiencies, adding to the problems the contractor has to fix and further endangering the tanker's delivery deadline.
On Thursday, the Air Force said that two additional issues had emerged, one involving the remote vision system, which is used by the boom operator to guide the boom into the fuel receptacle on the aircraft being refueled.
The remote vision system is not meeting Air Force requirements, according to Defense News. Problems with the RVS hinder "the boom operator's ability to guide the refueling boom and drogue into receptacles on the receiver aircraft," Aviation Week Pentagon editor Lara Seligman said on Twitter on Thursday.
Issues with the RVS have also contributed to the likelihood of the tanker's boom scraping against the exterior surface of the receiving aircraft — a previously disclosed category-one problem that can damage stealth aircraft. Boeing is working on a software update that it hoped would correct the RVS issue, Seligman added.
The other issue involves the centerline drogue system, the tanker's other refueling system, which in tests was unexpectedly disconnecting from the aircraft receiving fuel. The Air Force and Boeing "are performing the necessary systems engineering analysis to determine the root cause and path forward," Seligman said. The problem does not present any "immediate" safety risk, according to Defense News.
The Air Force does not have a set timeline for when these new problems will be fixed, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News. (end of excerpt)
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