Boeing recorded a $ 736 million loss on its KC-46A Pegasus tanker in 2018, bringing total program losses to nearly $ 3.6 billion.
The program's losses in 2018 were mainly due to higher estimated costs related to "certification, testing and change in aircraft integration", as well as a more than expected effort to meet the requirements of the US Air Force for initial aircraft to accept, said Boeing in the financial application in 2018 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The vast majority of lost losses occurred in the first three quarters of the year, with a total increase of $ 50 million in the fourth quarter.
The USAF formally accepted the first KC-46A from Boeing on January 10 after more than a year and a half delay. According to Boeing's original development contract, Boeing had to deliver 18 operational aircraft, nine wing aerial refueling pod sets and two additional Pratt & Whitney PW4062 engines by August 2017, but that milestone will probably not be achieved until 2020. Instead, USAF accepts incomplete tankers that can work in most situations.
Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tank tank refuels Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
The KC-46A has problems with its remote vision system; a combination of stereoscopic and infrared cameras that offer a 185 ° field of vision behind the tanker and help a driver on board to bring the tank boom into contact with a receiving aircraft. In addition, Cobham fuel packs are largely held because of problems with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process and are expected to be delivered by 2020, says Boeing.
Boeing is on contract for 52 tankers worth $ 7.8 billion. If all options are exercised under the contract, the company expects to deliver 179 aircraft for a total value of approximately $ 30 billion.
The manufacturer hopes that it can compensate for its losses with the granting of these options and with international sales.
Nevertheless, the company warns that despite the deliveries to the USAF, there may be more losses.
"As with any development program, this program remains subject to additional range-forward losses and / or delays in delivery if we experience further manufacturing, technical or quality problems, and delays in flight testing, certification and / or delivery," Boeing in his financial archiving.
Boeing, for its part, claims that the program has become a turning point and points to the up-tempo delivery of five tankers in the past 30 days. The company has recently transferred an aircraft to the Altus air base in Oklahoma and plans to ship three tankers a month later this month.
Updated with additional information about deliveries of tankers and financial results for the fourth quarter