In a blistering attack on Boeing, the Air Force’s top acquisition official said the company has a “severe situation” with flawed inspectio
ns of its new KC-46 air refueling tanker aircraft, after trash and industrial tools were found in some planes after they were delivered to the Air Force.
Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logisti
cs, made clear his concerns after visiting Boeing’s Everett Washington plant where the plane is assembled.
”I left concerned, and I also left thinking Boeing understands they have a sever
e situation that’s going to take top level engagement from their company,” Roper said.
After discovering the problem, the Air Force stopped accepting the new tankers from Boeing on February 20.R
oper visited the plant on Monday and, after getting a company promise for a new inspection plan, deliveries are res
uming as upgraded inspections are completed. Six aircraft that had already been received were re-inspected by the Air Force.
”We are doing more stringent inspections so we feel confident before we accept any plane from Boeing,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told CNN.
While the discovery of trash and tools in the planes is not a result o
f design flaw, or a specific safety concern, Air Force officials privately told CNN they were
aware that the timing of the problem is exceptionally sensitive for Boeing after the grounding of its 737 Max jet.