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Air Force accepts Boeing’s KC-46 tanker after 2-year delay and $3 billion in cost overruns

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“We have identified, and Boeing has agreed to fix at its expense, deficiencies discovered in developmental testing of the remote vision system,” Capt. Hope Cronin, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in a statement.

A source familiar with the program explained that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was slated to approve the tanker on Friday, Dec. 21, until he resigned a day prior.

The Pentagon’s decision to accept the aircraft was made by Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, since the acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, has recused himself from the defense company’s projects.

The formal delivery ceremony for the first tankers will be at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, at the end of the month.

Correction: Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was slated to approve the tanker on Friday, Dec. 21. An earlier version misstated the date.

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