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In late June 2011, it was reported that development costs were projected to overrun by about $300 million. Boeing would be responsible for this amount, which exceeds the contract cost cap of $4.9 billion. In July 2011, revised cost projections indicated a reduced cost overrun. In March 2015, the program cost for development and procurement of 179 tankers was projected to total US$43.16 billion.
In July 2015, Boeing announced that it had taken a further $835 million pretax charge to pay for redesigns and retrofits required to address a faulty integrated fuel system. A Boeing spokesperson stated that “in preparing for and performing fuel system qualification testing, we identified a number of fuel system parts and components that did not meet specifications and needed to be redesigned. We're adding the engineers and ancillary staff resources needed to support the engineering redesign, manufacturing retrofit and qualification and certification of the fuel system changes, and the conclusion of functional and flight testing." Boeing may have to wait an extra eight months for $3 billion in contracts on the KC-46 because of delays caused by the wiring and fuel system parts flaws, according to the USAF. Low-rate production contracts to build the first 19 of the tankers may be delayed from August to as late as April 2016 in the latest schedule revision agreed on by the Air Force and Boeing. The planned first flight of a fully equipped KC-46 is being delayed to as late as September 2015. Air Force Spokesman, Charles Gulick, noted that the primary goal, "delivery of 18 tankers by August 2017" can be met. The Bank of America/Merrill Lynch noted in July 2015 “We fail to understand how Boeing could take a $1.26 billion pre-tax charge (since it won the contract over Airbus) on the Boeing KC-46A program since the program is based on the 767 airframe that has been in production for over 30 years.”
he KC-135 entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1957; it is one of six military fixed-wing aircraft with over 50 years of continuous service with its original operator. The KC-135 is supplemented by the larger KC-10. Studies have concluded that many of the aircraft could be flown until 2040, although maintenance costs have greatly increased. The KC-135 is to be replaced by the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus.
The second modification program retrofitted 500 aircraft with new CFM International CFM56 (military designation: F108) high-bypass turbofan engines produced by General Electric and Snecma. The CFM56 engine produces approximately 22,500 lbf (100 kN) of thrust, nearly a 100% increase compared to the original J-57 engine. The modified tanker, designated KC-135R (modified KC-135A or E) or KC-135T (modified KC-135Q), can offload up to 50% more fuel (on a long-duration sortie), is 25% more fuel-efficient, and costs 25% less to operate than with the previous engines. It is also significantly quieter than the KC-135A, with noise levels at takeoff reduced from 126 to 99 decibels.
No longer in consideration, upgrading the remaining KC-135Es into KC-135Rs would have cost about US$3 billion, about $24 million per aircraft. According to Air Force data, the KC-135 fleet had a total operation and support cost in fiscal year 2001 of about $2.2 billion. The older E model aircraft averaged total costs of about $4.6 million per aircraft, while the R models averaged about $3.7 million per aircraft. Those costs include personnel, fuel, maintenance, modifications, and spare parts.
KC-135R KC-135As and some KC-135Es re-engined with CFM-56 engines, at least 361 converted.