The US Air Force (USAF) is reportedly expected to receive the delivery of the first KC-46 aerial refuelling tanker from aircraft manufacturer Boeing starting in October.
USAF under-secretary Matt Donovan was quoted by DefenseNews as saying: “As a result of months of collaboration, the airforce and Boeing KC-46A teams have reached an agreed joint programme schedule to get to the first 18 aircraft deliveries.
“This includes the expectation the first KC-46A aircraft acceptance and delivery will occur in October 2018, with the remaining 17 aircraft delivered by April 2019.
“While the KC-46A flight test programme is nearly complete, significant work remains. The airforce is looking forward to KC-46A first delivery and will continue to work with Boeing on opportunities to expedite the programme.”
According to the USAF, the delivery of the first tanker was planned to take place last year but the target date was changed to the second quarter of this year.
Boeing has paid more than $3bn in pre-tax charges to date due to several schedule delays and technical issues.
Boeing was awarded a $4.9bn contract in 2011 to modify the 767-2C commercial freighter into the KC-46A military tanker.
KC-46A tankers have been designed to replace the USAF’s existing and ageing fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers.
The aircraft is set to begin its flight tests from Edwards Air Force Base in California, US.