The Air Force and Boeing earlier this month conducted the critical design review for the KC-46A tanker at Boeing’s facility in Mukilteo, Wash., announced service officials on Thursday. The purpose of the review, held July 8-10, was to validate that Boeing’s KC-46 design meets the Air Force’s requirements. There are still “a few actions to finish” before the review is complete, but the process is expected to be done “well in advance of the Sept. 24 contractual date,” states the Air Force’s July 18 release. “Boeing believes the review went well and initial feedback from our customer has been positive,” said company spokesman Jerry Drelling. Once the CDR is complete, Boeing will proceed into the fabrication, hardware and software integration, and test phase of the KC-46 development program, states the release. Boeing is under contract to supply 179 KC-46s to replace the Air Force’s oldest KC-135s. The company has begun building the first KC-46 test aircraft and remains on track to deliver the first 18 KC-46s by 2017, said Drelling. Maj. Gen. John Thompson, program executive officer for tankers, called the combined Air Force-industry efforts to advance the tanker development to this point “tremendous.”
Supply chain and vanishing vendor issues make supporting old nuclear systems increasingly difficult, Global Strike Command’s logistics and engineering chief Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell said. Additive printing will be a big help but can be hampered by bureaucracy.