Boeing’s first KC-46 tanker test aircraft takes off from Paine Field, Washington, on its inaugural flight in Dec. 28, 2014.(Photo Paul Gordon Boeing)
March 17, 2015 By Aaron Mehta – Defense News
WASHINGTON — The KC-46A Pegasus tanker program director is "not comfortable" saying the tanker's first flight will happen as planned in April.
Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, program executive officer for tankers, told an audience Tuesday that he is now targeting a more general date of second quarter of this calendar year, which extends to the end of June.
"What I'm trying not to do is get fixated on days," Richardson said at the CreditSuisse/McAleese conference, held annually in Washington. "I feel more comfortable saying second quarter calendar 15. I feel more comfortable with that."
The KC-46A will replace the majority of the service's current tanker fleet with 179 new planes, based on a Boeing commercial design. The contract protects the Air Force from major cost overruns on the way to having 18 planes ready to go in 2017.
The first engineering, manufacturing, development (EMD) configuration flew in late December, while first flight of a full-up KC-46A had been scheduled for April. That now appears to be slipping.