The deliveries of the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker resumed on March 11, 2019, after more than a week of suspension due to loose tools and debris found in the planes.
A KC-46A Pegasus was delivered to the 97th Air Mobility Wing in Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, according to a press release from the United States Air Force.
This marked the resumption of deliveries, after suspicious objects were found in several aircraft that had been already received by the Air Force. The planes had been assembled at Boeing main’s facility in Everett, Seattle. The objects were described as loose tools and Foreign Object Debris (FOD).
The issue was initially reported on February 20, 2019, after five aircraft were already delivered. The deliveries were subsequently suspended on February 28, 2019, according to a Boeing memo published by The Seattle Times. Training flights were also put on hold.
To tackle the issue, a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) was issued for the delivery process. “As directed by the CAP, subsequent deliveries will occur as Boeing successfully completes each aircraft’s inspections and actions,” said Rose Riley, Air Mobility Command Public Affairs spokesperson.
Now that the deliveries resumed, the USAF is set to keep an extra eye on the coming planes. “We’re going to be measuring as we go, and we expect to see many months of pristine airplanes,” said Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics during a hearing, as quoted by military.com. “They should be clean on delivery. If we don’t see progress, we’ll have to raise the stakes.”
The mishap came only a month after delivery started. On January 10, 2019, more than a year after due date, the USAF received its first KC-46A. Already at the time, “deficiencies [were] discovered in developmental testing of the remote vision system.” Boeing has agreed to fix the RVS at its expense, a process which could take a few years.