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Air Force Expects to Receive 1st KC-46 Tanker in Late Spring 2018

The U.S. Air Force has pushed back to late spring of 2018 its expectation for Boeing to deliver the first KC-46 tanker aircraft citing delays in obtaining airworthiness certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration and completion of the test flight program, Defense News reported Thursday.

“Once Boeing receives the remaining design approvals from the FAA, they expect testing to proceed on a faster pace,” the service branch said in a statement.

The military branch continues to believe that Boeing will meet the required assets available deadline in October 2018.

RAA calls for the firm to hand over 18 KC-46s and nine air refueling pods to the Air Force, the report added.

Breaking Defense also reported that Boeing remains optimistic that it can deliver the first tanker aircraft by December.

“The majority of developmental testing is complete, which reduces risk to the certification and verification testing,” Caroline Hutcheson, a spokeswoman for Boeing, said in an email.

“Additionally, we recently added a 6th aircraft (the second low-rate initial production plane) to the flight test program, which will help with test efficiency and improve our ability to complete ground and flight test points going forward.”

Hutcheson noted that the firm has not identified any technical risk after the aircraft logged 1,700 flight test hours, the report added.

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