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KC-46 IOT&E slipped to January 2018 or later

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posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 05:19 PM
The Air Force and Boeing have officially slipped the Initial Operational Testing & Evaluation for the KC-46 to January 2018. The initial schedule had Milestone C in April 2016, and IOT&E starting in May of this year. When they tested the boom on the C-17 they found higher than expected axial loads on the boom, and that pushed the program back several months. This shifted Milestone C to August 2016, and the initial 18 aircraft delivery to February 2018, instead of August of this year.

The Cobham wing pods that contain the drogue system for the wingtips won't be delivered or certified by the FAA until October of 2018. Boeing is currently at 54% of test points for FAA certification on the aircraft, and has to complete certain milestones to move on to each point. They also have to certify the aircraft for a cybersecurity vulnerability found during an operational test. Engineers are confident that the problem was related to lab equipment, but will conduct a similar test on an actual aircraft prior to beginning IOT&E testing.

Initial operational test and evaluation on the Boeing KC-46A tanker will begin in January 2018 at the earliest, US Air Force officials tell FlightGlobal.

In a 10 February interview at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, KC-46 programme manager Col. John Newberry told FlightGlobalthat testing will begin pending the results of a US Air Force IOT&E readiness review in the fall of 2017.

Last year, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester estimated a May 2017 start for IOT&E and an April 2016 Milestone C date. But after Boeing discovered higher than expected axial loads on the refueling boom last May, the programme was forced to rebaseline its schedule. When Milestone C shifted from its expected April 2016 date to August, it initiated a domino effect that pushed other programme events, such as IOT&E, further out.


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