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News | Dec. 27, 2017

Innovative tour showcases future derivative programs

By DCMA Boeing Seattle

EVERETT, Wash., Dec. 27, 2017 — Defense Contract Management Agency Director Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis and 41 agency leaders were treated to a full orientation of Boeing’s KC-46A Commercial Derivative Production line during the Western Region commander’s and director’s forum at Naval Station Everett, Nov. 15.

With initial Air Force deliveries planned for 2018, leadership got their first exposure to an innovative acquisition strategy leveraging the massive commercial production, logistics and supply chain capabilities of a commercial aircraft factory.

Air Force Maj. Zachery Lord, a DCMA Boeing Seattle program integrator, said in addition to reduced production, operations and maintenance costs, his group has high aspirations for the commercial derivative acquisition strategy concept. “We also anticipate improved reliability and maintainability of the aircraft in the future of the tanker program by starting from the base 767-2C airframe and adapting it into a military specific configuration,” Lord said.

Starting in the Boeing Commercial Factory, the 767-2C is produced in-line with other cargo 767s slated for commercial companies such as FedEx and UPS. The 767-2C then transitions to the Boeing Finishing Center where it is transformed into a KC-46 by installing mission systems such as the boom, centerline drogue system and defensive systems.

The Navy’s P-8A Poseidon Program, also produced by Boeing, is an example of a mature commercial derivative program. “We have seen tremendous successes in on-time deliveries and under-budget production,” said DCMA Boeing Seattle Commander Air Force Col. Michael Meyer. “Lessons learned from the KC-46 and P-8A programs are laying the foundation for acquisition decisions on future commercial derivative programs.”

Agency leaders received factory floor insight into Boeing’s strategy for how they produce the tanker and plan to deliver the global reach capability for the KC-46A. The orientation also provided insight into the important and unique role in-plant DCMA employees have in the surveillance of production on a commercial derivative program. The tour was the first exposure to the concept for many of the DCMA leaders in attendance.

Lewis’ Pacific Northwest visit took place after the forum. Two town halls were also held by the admiral at local contract management offices where he was able to tour the P-8A Boeing Defense production line and interact with agency employees.

The leadership forum is a semi-annual meeting where DCMA leadership and local agency staff meet face-to-face to discuss trends, metrics, objectives and best practices for the Western Region’s primary, integrating and enabling capabilities.