|[Published: Saturday October 17 2020]
US army stops Apache deliveries after Boeing finds improper record-keeping at factory
WASHINGTON, 17 Oct. - (ANA) - The U.S. Army has stopped accepting Apache helicopters from Boeing after the company found that an employee kept “improper” records concerning parts installed on the aircraft.
It’s the latest quality-control issue to bedevil America’s largest planemaker, which is trying to shift its company’s culture and repair its public image after two deadly airliner crashes and a production line that left tools and trash inside new tanker aircraft.
“At this time the Army is still conducting a comprehensive review of a number of Boeing processes, production, and manufacturing plans for critical safety items applicable to all AH-64E aircraft production,” Lt. Col. Brandon Kelley, an Army spokesman, said in an emailed statement.
When it learned of “improper record keeping” at its AH-64 Apache factor in Mesa, Arizona, Boeing “immediately notified the Army,” Steve Parker, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift, said in a statement provided by a company spokesman.
“Boeing and the government are jointly reviewing our Mesa quality management processes and procedures,” Parker said. “Flight operations and deliveries will resume when Boeing and the Army are satisfied this issue has been resolved and appropriate corrective action plans have been implemented.”
Boeing no longer employs the worker who kept the improper records, according to a person with knowledge of the issue.
Boeing’s Mesa operation builds new Apaches and overhauls old ones with more modern equipment — a process known as remanufacturing. The company continues to build aircraft amid the delivery stoppage, an industry source said.
It’s not the first time the Army has suspended Apache deliveries. From March to August 2018, the service halted acceptances after finding a flaw in a part that holds the helicopter’s rotors to the aircraft.
Boeing quality-control practices have been called into question by both the commercial industry and the military. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating potential manufacturing issues on 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The coronavirus pandemic has only made things worse for Boeing and its suppliers as air travel evaporates and airlines cancel plane orders. Earlier this year, executives said the company’s $34 billion defense business would outperform its typically lucrative commercial business for the first time in more than a decade. - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/17 October 2020 - - -