KC-46A Clears Major Milestone

The Air Force has “successfully” completed the interim baseline review for the KC-46A tanker program, said Jennifer Cassidy, an Air Force spokeswoman based at the Pentagon. During the week-long review, completed Aug. 24, the Pentagon and the Boeing-led contractor team worked together to outline how the program will accomplish its goals, she told the Daily Report Tuesday. Boeing’s KC-46 beat out competitor EADS North America’s A330-based tanker model when the Air Force awarded the tanker contract in February. Boeing is expected to deliver 18 new-build aerial refuelers by 2017 under the initial fixed-priced-incentive contract for the tanker’s engineering and manufacturing development phase. The Air Force intends to purchase 179 KC-46As overall to replace its oldest KC-135s under work that has a total estimated value of more than $30 billion, depending on the options exercised. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz has said the KC-46A program should serve as a guidepost for all future Air Force acquisition programs, which can reap the benefits of hard lessons learned over the last decade as the service worked to replace its aging tankers.