Boeing's Troubled Air Force Tanker Hits New Delay in Fixing Cameras (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published Sept. 20, 2022)
By Anthony Capaccio
Just a week after the US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command approved the KC-46A Pegasus tanker for worldwide operational deployment, new problems with its faulty Remote Vision System have delayed its Initial Operating Capability for another year. (USAF photo)
The Air Force’s latest schedule for Boeing Co.’s troubled KC-46 tanker adds as much as 11 months to start installing an improved version of its flawed camera-based refueling system, according to the service.

The added time could push completion of the improvements into fiscal 2026. “The magnitude of delay is not known, but will be less than a year,” Captain Josh Benedetti, an Air Force spokesman, said in a statement. He said a new schedule would be set by Sept. 30 after a recent “critical design review” of Boeing’s progress.

Boeing has agreed to greatly improve its Remote Vision System, 3D cameras that feed a console where an airman guides a refueling boom during the midair minuet to connect with another plane. The Air Force discovered in 2017 that shadows or the sun’s glare sometimes can hamper the system’s view, resulting in occasional scraping of planes being refueled or difficulty in performing the operation.

Boeing will continue to be responsible for the costs of fixing the camera system unless the Air Force orders changes to the design, Benedetti said. He added that possible delays stem from a combination of hardware development and the process for certifying airworthiness.

The most recent review disclosed that “to make the design effective is going to take a little longer than we expected,” Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Andrew Hunter told reporters Tuesday at a conference. There’s “no answer yet exactly on how long it’s going to be,” he said of the delay. “In terms of cost, I’m not expecting anything shocking,” Hunter said. (end of excerpt)

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