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Boeing Fuel Tank Issues Affect KC-46 Delivery Schedule

Affected Fuel Tanks Could Require Downtime for 12+ Aircraft

Boeing’s KC-46 program will likely experience more delays, just like the 767 series aircraft currently awaiting fuel tank parts.

Reportedly, a quality issue surrounding a delivery of center fuel tanks made by subcontractor Triumph Group’s aerospace structures arm. The tanks, as delivered to Boeing, were incorrectly cleaned before painting, leaving their paint application somewhat inadequate. Boeing acknowledged the existence of a ‘quality issue’ without directly affirming the Triumph issue, admitting that some 767F and KC-46 aircraft had to be worked on before delivery.

The process, if it is indeed the center fuel tank as rumored, would entail stripping and repainting the inside of affected fuel tanks, with estimates running around a dozen affected aircraft sitting in Boeing inventory. The issue may reach back further, too, with some aircraft possibly affected as far back as 2021. Triumph sold its aero structures arm to Daher Aerospace last year.

Reports cite the increasing frequency of delivery issues at Boeing, including issues with software, parts, and fabrication ahead of delivery. A data error surrounding the forward pressure bulkhead of the 787 Dreamliner has stalled deliveries of the type for a time, another rumor pointing to similar delays for 37 MAX aircraft that could stretch as long as a year, thanks to issues with the Option selection Software used for pre-delivery configuration. Boeing contends that the reports are incorrect, with the company line saying the issue was little more than a documentation change, not a software problem.



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