The US Air Force has received the 500th Combat Track II kit, an airborne intelligence system, to enhance situational awareness, increase aircrew survivability and improve airframe effectiveness of its cargo and bomber aircraft.

The Combat Track II system from Boeing will provide command and control information, and secure beyond line-of-sight, encrypted communications between the aircraft and air operations centres worldwide.

Combat Track Air Force programme manager Scott Frank said the systems allow air crews to respond to threats more quickly and effectively.

“Combat Track II has become critical to our mission, providing timely intelligence to support combat forces,” Frank said.

The systems will also be installed on the C-130, C-17, B-52 and B-1 aircraft operated by the Air Force Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves.

Boeing Intelligence director of mission systems Dewey Houck said the net-enabled capability enhances a warfighter’s situational awareness and improves decision making with tools that speed up information sharing.

Part of the $100m Combat Track II contract signed in 1995, the 500th unit is part of Boeing’s current production lot of 46, awarded in April 2009.