“De-Risking” the KC-46

Fixes to the KC-46 program are “in hand,” and the project is doing well overall, Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told financial reporters in a Wednesday teleconference. Aside from a need to redesign and re-route wiring harnesses, Smith said the sections of the four prototype KC-46s “came together extremely well” and the harness problem is the type of thing normally discovered during initial integration, he asserted. “This is not a technology leap,” he said of the program. “We know how to do it.” Smith noted that Boeing has created a number of “technology labs” to anticipate and work through potential obstacles in the tanker project, particularly with the fuel system, as an effort to “de-risk the program,” he said. Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick said that while “the government did not know specific details” of Boeing’s $272 million quarterly earnings charge to cover the cost of the harness fix, “we are not surprised by the announcement.” USAF’s estimates at completion, or EACs, “have been consistently higher than Boeing’s for the past three and a half years.” However, the company has “met every contractual requirement to date.”