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New Air Force Tanker Delayed Because It Can’t Refuel Planes

Rogue Valley

Nulla Misericordia
DP Veteran
Apr 18, 2013
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New Air Force Tanker Delayed Because It Can’t Refuel Planes

Boeing has eaten $1.3 billion trying to fix their KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling plane. Now new aircraft, USAF decision to buy more, pushed back months....

The resistance to the aerodynamics of the boom from large aircraft such as the C-17 were also a problem with the KC-135 when the C-17 was first put into the fleet. The axial load problem is a symptom of aerodynamic forces that are nothing more than a problem with engineering, not technology. The engineering of the older booms had to be corrected to interface with newer aircraft as they came online. Synching the new boom design with the aerodynamic idiosyncrasies of each aircraft that the boom will encounter, again, is just a matter of engineering.

The fact that it's taking as long as it's taking says more about the restrictions to innovation that the military regulations present to private industry than any perceived problems with the actual engineering capability of Boeing or any other private company.

The problem will be fixed. The new tanker will join the fleet. The only question at this point is - who pays? Boeing is hitting brick walls put up by government restrictions - therefore, IMHO, the government should pay (at a minimum) the additional costs created by those restrictions, while Boeing should cover what the costs of reengineering would be absent the oppressive government restrictions.
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