U.S. Air Force Says Vigilant on Boeing Tanker Program

September 18, 2012

The U.S. Air Force said on Tuesday it was optimistic about Boeing Co's (BA.N) work on the new $51.7 billion KC-46 refueling tanker program but remained vigilant about possible problems, even as officials examined an initial possible export request.

"I think we're in a good place right now," Major General John Thompson, who oversees the Boeing tanker program as well the older KC-135 and KC-10 tanker programs, told reporters at the Air Force Association annual conference.

Thompson, who started his job five weeks ago, said the financial and schedule risks were all normal for this stage of a development program, and both Boeing and the Air Force had good people on it.

But he said there was more hard work to do to ensure the program was able to reach a critical design review by the end of fiscal year 2013. He said his attitude was "to be optimistic, but vigilant."

Thompson said Singapore had requested information about the possible export of the KC-46 tanker earlier this summer. That request was now being addressed.

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