Matthew Donovan, U.S. Air Force undersecretary, has said the service and Boeing expect the first KC-46 aerial refueling tanker to be delivered in October, which is two months ahead of the service’s previous projection, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
The report said the agreement on the new schedule suggests that Boeing is close to fixing problems on the potential $44.3 billion program, including an issue with the aircraft’s 59-foot-long boom that may scrape other planes during refueling operations.
“The men and women of the Air Force know when they will start receiving this important capability,” Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing’s defense, space and security business, said in an email.
“The KC-46 is a top priority for us, and we have the best of Boeing working to ensure the Air Force gets their tankers as quickly as possible,” added Caret, a 2018 Wash100 recipient.
Donovan also told Bloomberg that Boeing has agreed to hand over 18 KC-46s, nine sets of refueling pods and two spare engines to the service branch by April 2019.