I don't get it. A 1980s vintage airframe, already developed and paid for by Boeing, is going to cost Uncle Sam $4.9 Billion????
Tanker project could cost more than $4.9B.
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE -- The cost to develop a new Air Force refueling tanker is expected to exceed a $4.9 billion spending cap, but taxpayers won't be on the hook for the extra costs, according to a Government Accountability Office report.The KC-135 is based on the most succesful jet airframe of all time, and in addition to that, Boeing has a longstanding "modernization" program that essentially restores the vintage birds back to factory-new standard. It's one of the 3 or 4 birds that I expect to see make 100 years in the sky one day.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base manages the program.
The GAO report released this week also found the flight test schedule for the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker was a "substantive concern" for the aircraft that is a top Air Force acquisition priority.
The service branch has a $52 billion fixed-price contract to buy an initial 179 KC-46 tankers from Chicago-based Boeing Co. through 2027.
The KC-46, a military tanker version of the commercial Boeing 767 passenger airliner, will replace many aging KC-135 Stratotanker refuelers, the last of which joined the fleet in 1965.
The GAO reported both the government and Boeing were concerned development costs would exceed what's budgeted. The contractor has estimated the cost overrun will reach $266 million while the Department of Defense has pegged the additional expense at $717 million, according to Michael J. Sullivan, GAO director of the acquisition and sourcing management team.
But I guess after the EADS/Airbus fiasco (thanks to John McCain), somebody wasn't making enough money and needed to come up with something new.
It's an old-technology Boeing 767 with gas tanks in it, ferchrissake!