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The Air Force's KC-46A tanker program is "on cost and on schedule," and is "in a real healthy place," said Acting Secretary Eric Fanning on Monday. "Everything is coming together really well," he said in a Sept. 9 interview with American Forces Press Service, the Pentagon's press arm. Fanning attributed the program's success to date to the Air Force clearly defining the KC-46's requirements and resisting the urge to change them during the course of the tanker's development. The Air Force intends to procure 179 KC-46s from Boeing to replace its oldest KC-135 tankers. Fanning recently visited the company's KC-46 assembly plant in Everett, Wash., where the first two airframes are in various stages of build. Fanning called the KC-46 "truly one of the most important backbone platforms for the joint fight." Just last week, the Air Force announced it had closed the critical design review for the KC-46, thereby locking down the tanker's design and clearing the way for Boeing to progress into the tanker's manufacturing and developmental test phases. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)