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Pentagon Accepts Flawed Boeing Tankers for Air Force, Sources Say 

Pentagon Accepts Flawed Boeing Tankers for Air Force, Sources Say 

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  • Why? We continue to see cost overruns for equipment for Defense Department but now the USG is accepting planes with unresolved deficiencies. Why should the public accept this as good policy and especially since the plane cost was likely above original bid.

  • The KC-46 program is a debacle, a great example of what's wrong with our military acquisition process in the US. Building an air tanker, for a company like Boeing, should not be this difficult. All the planes fundamentally are is a hollowed-out airliner body with cargo and fuel storage added. Boeing's

    The KC-46 program is a debacle, a great example of what's wrong with our military acquisition process in the US. Building an air tanker, for a company like Boeing, should not be this difficult. All the planes fundamentally are is a hollowed-out airliner body with cargo and fuel storage added. Boeing's own KC-767 (based on a 767 airliner fuselage) is comparable to the KC-46 in nearly every way, except of course that it's already in use by several countries problem-free.

    The KC-46 is a classic example of a kitchen-sink design, throwing every possible feature into a plane (the airframe itself is also a hybrid of two older, proven Boeing designs, an idea that has been rather more difficult than expected to implement) to impress Pentagon brass, regardless of whether those features actually serve a practical purpose. For example, the boom that extends from the back of the tanker to refuel other planes: normally, the operator sits in the rear of the plane, with a window to see, and guides the boom to refuel the other aircraft. In the KC-46 the boom operator sits near the cockpit and controls the boom remotely, observing it through a camera. Why? Because remote-operated stuff is cool and high-tech, of course! Never mind that this system is drastically less reliable and more difficult to use than just a window. I don't doubt the planes will be more than capable once they're in service, but there was no reason for the development to cause such problems.