Washington (AFP) – The US Air Force announced on Thursday that it was ready to receive its first KC-46A Pegasus tankers, a new type of air refueling that still needs to be technically repaired expensive.
Based on the 767 jet cell cell, the Boeing tanker will eventually replace much of the aging Air Force KC-135 supply chain, manufactured during the Cold War.
The KC-46 suffered technical setbacks, delays and cost overruns, due in large part to a problem with the "remote viewing" system.
Unlike older tankers, the KC-46's boomers do not have a direct view of the aircraft being refueled. Instead, they need to rely on an elaborate system of cameras and monitors.
In some cases, boomers have had image quality issues and have accidentally scratched the outside of the aircraft being refueled.
In a statement, the Air Force said that Boeing had agreed to pay at its own expense problems related to the remote viewing system, not those of the taxpayer.
"The Air Force has put in place mechanisms to ensure that Boeing meets its contractual obligations as we continue the initial operational testing and assessment," said the door. -Air Air Force, Captain Hope Cronin.
An air force official said it could take three or four years to design and modernize an improved remote viewing system.
The Air Force is planning to hold a formal ceremony to deliver four new planes to a Kansas base this month.
"This is a major milestone for our next-generation tanker and will allow our airmen to begin operational testing and flight training," Cronin said.
In 2011, Boeing defeated its European rival Airbus to replace the KC-135 with the newer KC-46.
The Air Force plans to purchase 179 KC-46s during the program. The first deliveries were expected in 2017.
Leanne Caret, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing's defense operations, said in a statement that "the KC-46A is a proven and secure multi-mission aircraft that will transform air refueling and air mobility operations coming decades ".
According to Defense News, Boeing had to pay about $ 3.5 billion in pre-tax cost overruns in the program.