Boeing hands over first two tankers to Air Force

KC-46 tanker ceremony
Boeing employees, military personnel and VIPs gather at Boeing’s assembly plant in Everett, Wash., for the handover of the first KC-46 refueling airplane. (Boeing via LiveStream)

Boeing executives today added an extra twist to what was expected to be a cut-and-dried ceremony to hand over its first KC-46 tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force.

Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, sprung the surprise in front of the hundreds of employees, Air Force personnel and VIPs gathered at the company’s assembly plant in Everett, Wash., where the heavily modified 767 jets have taken shape.

“I am delighted to be with you all today to celebrate the delivery of the first KC-46 tanker from Boeing to the United States Air Force,” she said. “Wait a minute! I’m sorry, I have made a mistake. I think I had that wrong. I believe I am delivering two KC-46 aircraft to the United States Air Force! Two!”

Caret announced that officials from Boeing and the Air Force signed the acceptance forms for a second KC-46, following up on the paperwork that was approved earlier this month for the first jet.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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