Air Platforms

Boeing expects KC-46A delivery pace to begin slowing in mid-2020

05 November 2019

Boeing expects its KC-46A delivery pace to begin slowing in mid-2020 as it completes working through an aircraft backlog. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

Key Points

  • Boeing expects its KC-46A delivery pace to gradually slow to where it is delivering about 1-2 aircraft per month by late 2020/early 2021
  • The company has had a backlog of aircraft after they were grounded in early 2019 because of FOD concerns

Boeing expects to begin reducing its KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tanker delivery pace in mid-2020 as it finishes clearing out an aircraft backlog, according to a company executive.

Jamie Burgess, Boeing KC-46A᾿s vice-president and programme manager, told Jane's on 4 November that the company's current delivery pace of 3-4 aircraft per month will continue until mid-2020, after which Boeing will begin reducing its delivery rate to 1-2 aircraft per month in late 2020 and into 2021.

Burgess attributed the aircraft backlog to Boeing working through the final phases of testing and certification and initial deliveries. He called this upcoming reduced delivery rate to stabilise state production where the company is delivering aircraft at the same rate they are being built.

The US Air Force (USAF), which halted deliveries in early 2019 over foreign object debris (FOD) concerns, received its 23rd KC-46A on 1 November, Boeing said on Twitter. Burgess said Boeing will soon be delivering the USAF᾿s 24th aircraft.

On 22 October Boeing transitioned into initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) for the KC-46A: an important milestone that will help the USAF inform a potential full-rate production (FRP) decision. The service will lead IOT&E out of McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) in Oklahoma, Burgess said, with support from Boeing.

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