Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Boeing received a $1.7 billion contract this week to build 12 KC-46A tanker aircraft for the Air Force.
According to Boeing, this is the sixth production lot of the tankers and is designed to bring new capabilities and operational flexibility to the Air Force and other customers.
"The investments Boeing is making in the KC-46 today will benefit generations of service members," said Jamie Burgess, Boeing KC-46 tanker vice president and program manager. "I believe the partnership between Boeing and the Air Force will also produce additional KC-46 innovations that will carry the warfighter well into the future."
The KC-46 is a multirole tanker, designed to refuel allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures -- and is also equipped to carry passengers, cargo and patients.
Boeing has delivered 42 of the aircraft to four different bases since its first order in August 2016, but the KC-46 program has been beset by cost overruns and drags in productivity, prompting U.S. senators to call on the Government Accountability Office to investigate delays in productivity last spring.
In October the company announced it would pay another $67 million out of pocket for the program, a cost attributed to COVID-19-related cost overruns and productivity drags.