Deliveries of Boeing Co.’s troubled KC-46 tanker were halted for about a month earlier this year after Air Force and company inspectors found a red plastic cap lodged in a fuel valve that caused the uncontrolled flow of fuel from a one tank into another.
Tanker deliveries resumed after the previously unreported halt once Boeing confirmed that the debris “was missed on the aircraft” before an April 30 delivery flight, according to Captain Samantha Morrison, an Air Force spokeswoman. She said “a shortfall was identified in the previous inspection process, and additional layers of inspections have been added.” The company gave assurances that “future aircraft deliveries” would be debris-free, Morrison said in a statement.
Although deliveries resumed in June, seven serious “Category 1” deficiencies with the refueling tanker are unresolved. “Current plans show delivery of a fully mission-capable KC-46 by fiscal 2024,” she said. That’s 13 years after Boeing won the contract for the program.
In addition to repeated problems with debris, the unresolved problems include flaws in the “Remote Vision System” used to connect the tanker with planes in flight for refueling, a stiff refueling boom, fuel system leaks, issues with the flight management system, cracks in the air refueling drain tube and cracks in the auxiliary power unit drain mast, Morrison said.
“Boeing is making progress on resolving all seven deficiencies,” Morrison said. (end of excerpt)
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