Boeing Stirs Pentagon’s Ire with More Dings, Damage to Aircraft (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published Nov. 24, 2020)
By Anthony Capaccio
Boeing Co. has been cited by the Pentagon’s contracts management agency for an increase in incidents of damage to military aircraft or components at three of its facilities.

The citation from Army Lieutenant General David Bassett, director of the Defense Contract Management Agency, cited “recent negative trends” in mishaps at Boeing’s facilities in Seattle, San Antonio and Mesa, Arizona, “that far exceeds historical rates” and are “not consistent with expected performance.”

The results could include damage from parts falling off a cart during transportation or too little overhead “clearance when maneuvering the aircraft or ground support equipment resulting in repairs needing to be made,” Matthew Montgomery, a spokesman for the contracts agency, said in an email.

“Our analysis of mishaps indicates a disproportionate number of events occurring at Boeing facilities” since 2018 involving aircraft or parts damaged before delivery to the military, Bassett told Leanne Caret, chief executive officer of Boeing’s defense unit, in a previously undisclosed June letter obtained by Bloomberg News.

The mishaps add to other indications of challenged performance at units of Chicago-based Boeing, the No. 2 defense contractor after Lockheed Martin Corp. They include problems with parts quality for Apache AH-64 helicopters that led to a recent halt in delivery that’s still in effect and a wide-ranging Army-led inspection of the Mesa facility. In addition, Boeing is still struggling to deliver a KC-46 refueling tanker that meets refueling system specifications nine years after the company won the contract.

Mishaps at Boeing facilities increased from 18% of those tracked by the defense contracts agency for large aviation contractors in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 to 38% in 2019. As of June, they stood at 50%, far exceeding “levels observed in other large DoD aircraft contractors of similar scope over the same time period,” Bassett wrote. (end of excerpt)


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