For the second time in one month, the United States halted delivery of Boeing’s new refuelling air tankers due to “foreign object debris” found in closed compartments of the aircraft, the department’s secretary said.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday, “we actually stopped again the acceptance of the KC-46s because of foreign object debris that we found in some closed compartments”.
Later in the day before the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, Wilson elaborated that the issue was caused by a lack of “manufacturing discipline” on the assembly line.
“If you drop a wrench you have to find a wrench,” she said. “You have to wipe down surfaces so you don’t have pieces of aluminium that over time get in the midst of things and cause serious problems” .
The March 23 halt comes a little over a month since the Air Force first halted deliveries of the aircraft also due to foreign object debris.
The halt in deliveries is only the latest issue to arise concerning the $49 billion deal with Boeing that has seen multi-year delays and expenditure overruns.
Boeing Spokesman Charles Ramey said they are now conducting additional inspections, incorporating additional training and stressing the importance of “rigorous clean-as-you-go practices.”
“Boeing is committed to delivering FOD-free aircraft to the Air Force,” he said, referring to foreign object debris by its industry acronym.