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USAF Tanker Price Tag Projection Drops $1.8M Per Aircraft

Apr. 10, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
June 26 airpower summary: B-1Bs bomb enemy vehicle
An artist rendition of a US Air Force KC-46 refueling a B-1B bomber. (Boeing)
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WASHINGTON — The projected price tag for the new Boeing KC-46 tanker has fallen $1.8 million per aircraft, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

The US Air Force program “has made good progress over the past year” as “acquisition costs have remained relatively stable” and “the program is on track to meet performance parameters,” GAO said in the report released on Thursday.

“The next 12 months will be challenging as the program must complete software development, verify that the software works as intended, finalize developmental flight test planning and begin developmental flight tests,” the report states.

The estimated price tag for the entire program has also fallen $323 million to just under $51.4 billion, according to the report.

The report states that initial test and evaluation — scheduled for May 2016 — may slip six to 12 months.

Still, the four developmental aircraft being built by Boeing are on schedule, the report states. The KC-46 is scheduled to enter low-rate production in 2015.

Despite some manufacturing delays due to late supplier deliveries, the program has not missed any major milestones, the report states.■


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