The Air Force’s chief of staff warned new CEO David Calhoun that the 737 MAX isn’t the only item on Boeing’s to-do list. The U.S. Air Force is far less than happy with the KC-46, a 767-based tanker that, almost a decade in development, still isn’t mission ready.
“We require your attention and improved focus on the KC-46. The Air Force continues to accept deliveries of a tanker incapable of performing its primary operational mission,” the Air Force’s chief of staff, Gen. David Goldfein, told Calhoun in a letter. “As one of your largest military customers, we also rely on a relationship of trust and confidence” in Boeing products, as well as long-term support and development. He reiterated that unless Boeing can improve its performance on this contract, “we will have to acknowledge our serious concerns in two areas—trust and safety,” said Goldfein.
According to Bloomberg.com, Boeing responded by saying that it “is fully committed to addressing the Air Force concerns with the KC-46 program and devoting resources required to make the KC-46 fully mission capable.”
The KC-46 has had problems with its remote-vision system, which is needed for air-to-air refueling; with the refueling boom itself; and with defective cargo locks that caused the Air Force to prohibit the aircraft from carrying passengers or cargo. The Air Force has taken delivery of 30 KC-46s and has deployed them for crew training so far.