Boeing Defense, Space & Security delivered 77 military aircraft in the third quarter of 2019, a 114% jump over the number of aircraft it delivered in the second quarter, as the company continues catching up on orders delayed by quality issues.
Much of the production lift comes from a boost in deliveries of new and remanufactured AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, as well as of KC-46A Pegasus in-flight refuelling tankers, the company disclosed in a media release.
The US Army suspended acceptance of all AH-64E aircraft in 2018 due to safety risks and inspection expenses related to the helicopter’s strap pack retention nut. Foreign object debris (FOD) found inside new KC-46As caused the US Air Force (USAF) to suspend delivery of the tankers this summer, before resuming acceptance at a slower pace.
Strap nut retention nut problems with the AH-64 have been resolved and the US Army resumed acceptance in September 2018. The USAF says it accepted its first FOD-free KC-46A in September 2019.
Boeing delivered 17 new AH-64s and 21 remanufactured AH-64s in the third quarter, a 124% increase in the total number of Apaches delivered compared to the second quarter.
The company delivered nine KC-46A tankers in the third quarter, an 80% increase from when it delivered just five aircraft in the second quarter, the financial period during which FOD became a problem. Boeing has said it aims to deliver 36 KC-46As by the end of 2019, a goal which would require the company to substantially increase its monthly deliver rate in the final quarter.
Boeing delivered two C-40A Clippers transports in the third quarter to the US Navy. Separately, the US Marine Corps also had put out a notice in December 2018 that it intended to buy two C-40A aircraft by August 2020 to replace its two McDonnell Douglas C-9B Skytrain executive transports.
Boeing also delivered its last C-17 Globemaster III strategic air lifter to the Indian air force in August, bringing New Delhi’s fleet to 11 aircraft.
The airframer also delivered six new CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters, seven renewed CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters, two F-15 fighters, six F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters and six P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in the third quarter. In total, the company delivered 173 military aircraft through the end of the third quarter.
Updated: This article was updated to note that the two C-40A aircraft were delivered to the US Navy.