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Air Force probe raises concern over KC-46 spares price

The first KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its maiden flight. File Photo by Marian Lockhart/Boeing
The first KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its maiden flight. File Photo by Marian Lockhart/Boeing

June 8 (UPI) -- A U.S. Air Force probe into its recent contract award to Boeing for Japan's KC-46 tankers spare parts has raised concerns about unfair pricing.

Service officials confirmed to Defense News the Air Force's recent $88 million contract award to Boeing for the spare parts included about $10 million in costs they could not determine to be fair or reasonable.

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The KC-46 has been subject to issues in the past with problems in development and the necessary fixes leading to delays in the aircraft's delivery to the Air Force, prompting lawmakers concerns that Boeing is artificially inflating prices to help recoup financial losses, a government official told Defense News.

"They're trying to recover some of their costs on the back end, and they're starting to recover their costs basically on some of these spares," the government official said.

The Japanese government was charged up to 16 times more than the U.S. Air Force paid for its latest versions, according to a service assessment, Bloomberg reported.

On one part, navigation lights made by subcontractor Honeywell, Japan was billed "at a unit price more than 1,500% above the previous unit price," according to a previously undisclosed Air Force summary prepared last month, Bloomberg added.

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