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    Boeing Delivering New KC-46 Air Tankers to US Air Force with Critical Defects - GAO

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Boeing is finally delivering the first of its troubled KC-46 long-range aerial tankers to the US Air Force after a nearly 3-year delay but still with critical defects that do not meet contract standards, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report on Wednesday.

    “The Air Force is accepting aircraft that do not fully meet contract specifications and have critical deficiencies, including ones that affect the operators' ability to guide the fuel delivery boom into position, and the boom itself,” the report stated.

    The deficiencies could affect operations and cause damage to stealth aircraft while they are being refuelled in midair, making them visible to radar, the GAO warned.

    “Program officials estimate it will take 3 to 4 years to develop fixes for the deficiencies and a few more years to retrofit up to 106 aircraft. The Air Force and Boeing will incur costs to fix the deficiencies, with the Air Force's portion estimated to be more than $300 million,” the report said.

    Consequently, the US Air Force is withholding the remaining 20 percent of the price it is paying for the new aircraft until the defects in them are addressed, the GAO acknowledged.

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