Boeing completed the final overhaul of an Air Force aircraft, an E-4B National Airborne Operations Center platform, at its plant in Wichita, Kan., before the facility closes. “Our division is responsible for ensuring the safe operation of some extremely important aircraft and we’ve always answered that charge,” said Zane Boatright, Air Force Life Cycle Management deputy chief for special-mission aircraft, reported the Wichita Eagle on May 29. “We know that is due in large part to the tremendous support we have received there,” he added. Boeing is shifting depot-level maintenance for the Air Force’s 747-based E-4B and VC-25 presidential fleets to a purpose-built facility in San Antonio. The Wichita facility, which famously produced B-29 bombers during World War II, opened in 1927. (See also The B-29’s Battle of Kansas from the archives of Air Force Magazine.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.