In February 2015, The Boeing Company announced that it would restructure its defense and space businesses into a separate company known as BDS Development. The divesture was created in an effort to streamline and promote oversight of space and security related programs. Jim O’Neill, previously president of BDS Global Services & Support, will oversee the new company devoted to enhancing the efficiency of development programs.
The first programs under BDS Development will include the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker for the US Air Force, the presidential aircraft for the USAF, the CST-100 spacecraft for NASA’s Commercial Crew program, NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, the 502 small satellite, and development on the Boeing 777x commercial airliner. Modeled after The Boeing Company’s Airplane Development organization of their Commercial Airplanes division, BDS Development intends to better reduce risk and cost and enhance scheduling and management capabilities with a new integrated approach.
With a team of dedicated engineers and project managers, BDS Development will focus on four primary missions: finding new opportunities, developing key programs, weapons productions, and supporting current systems in the field. This restructuring is seen as a response to the delays and unforeseen expenses plaguing the current KC-46 refueling tanker program.
Dubbed the Pegasus, the KC-46 is a Boeing 767 jet airliner repurposed for refueling USAF’s airborne aircraft during operation. First launched in 2011, the program is scheduled to deliver 18 units to the military branch in 2017. Although this deadline remains confirmed by both Boeing and the Air Force, the Department of Defense’s director of operation testing and evaluation has stated in a 2013 report that the KC-46’s readiness capability is expected to be delayed by roughly 12 months. In addition, cost overruns for the tanker program have come up to approximately USD$425 million as a result of changing military requirements and technical issues.
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