March 8, 2018 / 2:29 AM / 9 months ago

Boeing air tanker delivery likely delayed again - U.S. Air Force

FILE PHOTO: Boeing's KC-46 aerial refueling tanker conducts receiver compatibility tests with a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Seattle, Washington, U.S., July 12, 2016. Christopher Okula/ U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force said the first delivery of KC-46 aerial refuelling tankers from Boeing Co, scheduled for the second quarter of 2018, would more likely occur late in the year.

“This assessment is based on known risks and predicted impacts associated with airworthiness certifications and slower than expected flight test execution,” the Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday.

The potential delays will not result in additional programme cost to the taxpayer, the statement said.

Boeing previously missed a forecast that the aircraft would be delivered last year.

In a statement on Wednesday, Boeing said: “There is always risk on any development program, we’re relying on our partnership with the Air Force to help mitigate those risks, complete KC-46 testing and deliver 18 game-changing tankers to them as quickly as possible.”

The world’s biggest maker of jetliners said it had discussed a range of delivery dates with the Air Force.

In the third quarter of 2017, the company took a $329 million (236.7 million pounds) charge for its KC-46 aerial refuelling tanker programme. Charges related to the programme have reduced profit by $1.9 billion after tax.

Boeing expects to build a substantial business from the tanker, which is based on its twin-aisle 767 commercial jet. Boeing plans to deliver 179 tankers to the U.S. Air Force and expects to sell about 400 in total worldwide.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Chris Sanders in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Peter Cooney

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