Pentagon weighs in on Boeing’s tanker, Air Force One

Defense officials recently made comments on a couple of projects relating to the Boeing Co.

Boeing is adding risk to its plan to deliver KC-46A tankers to the Air Force by not using its Wichita, Kan., site to militarize the aircraft, an Air Force official told Aviation Week.

The Chicago-based Boeing said in January it plans to shutter its Wichita site in 2013 in order to cut cost in light of a declining military budget.

Boeing’s KC-46A tankers are being developed using an Everett-built 767. Despite potential uncertainty, Maj. Gen. Christopher Bogdan also sees potential for Boeing to reduce – not add – risk, telling Aviation Week:

“If Boeing can make this transfer from Wichita … without introducing any risk in cost or schedule … the program will be less risky because they are going to build the boom in the same place where they build all of the other military [tanker] stuff.”

Boeing plans to shift boom assembly work to the Puget Sound region later this year. In 2011, the company won a contract to supply the Air Force with 179 aerial refueling tankers to replace its aging KC-135s, also built by Boeing.

Air Force One

The Pentagon is eyeing a replacement for the President’s 747-based Air Force One, according to this Defense News story.

There are two 747s that serve as Air Force One, both have been in service for more than 20 years.

Boeing likely will be the only bidder for the Air Force One replacement.

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