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Another KC-46 Tanker Headed To McConnell Air Force Base

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Another KC-46 Pegasus air refueling tanker is expected to arrive at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita on Friday.

It’ll be the first delivery since the Air Force stopped accepting the Boeing-built planes about six weeks ago due to a production issue.

An Air Force spokesperson says tanker deliveries will resume under a new extensive inspection process.

Boeing delivered its first KC-46 tanker to McConnell in January, and then sent three more before foreign object debris, or FOD, was discovered inside new aircraft.

Boeing inspectors are rechecking the tankers at the base, and so far, no tankers were returned to the company’s Washington state factory.

Boeing Spokesman Chick Ramey says the company has seen good progress as a result of its action plans and inspections.

“We are committed to delivering FOD-free aircraft,” Ramey said in a statement.

The Air Force says it’s working to minimize potential delays to operational testing and evaluation at McConnell due to postponed deliveries and re-inspections.

The KC-46 is considered a “next generation” tanker that will transform air refueling and mobility operations. It will eventually replace the KC-135 Stratotanker which have been used in Air Force missions for more than 60 years.

McConnell is supposed to receive 18 KC-46 tankers in Boeing’s first delivery phase. The base will eventually have 36 tankers.

Delays in Boeing's production and testing already pushed the initial delivery schedule back several times during the past two years.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.