DRS Defense Solutions Intelligence, Communications and Avionics Solutions (ICAS) has been awarded a contract to supply its Intelligence Broadcast Receiver Block 2 (IBR2) tactical terminal for integration onto US Air Force (USAF) KC-46A Tanker aircraft.

Under the initial phase of the contract awarded by Boeing, the company will provide IBR2 systems, data and support for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the air force’s next-generation tanker programme.

The IBR-2 is an advanced tactical receiver that facilitates reception of near real-time threat data and locator information for search and rescue operations, Blue Force Tracker data, as well as presentation of critical situational awareness information to the user.

The IBR2 tactical terminal receives the critical data through Integrated Broadcast Service and Common Interactive Broadcast waveforms over Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Satellite Communication Group (SATCOM) links.

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The receiver also provides the capability to support up to a total of 24 simultaneous user operations, by allowing direct access to a Tactical Receive Segment (TRS) through a TCP/IP connection.

The users can be Multifunction Advanced Tactical Terminal (MATT) style or TRS users in any combination.

The IBR-2 also supports the National Security Agency (NSA) Cryptographic Modernization Program for algorithm changes, and is upgradeable to handle future algorithm upgrades and the transition to Common Integrated Broadcast (CIB).

The KC-46 is a military aerial refuelling and strategic transport aircraft developed by Boeing to gradually replace the air force’s aging fleet of 176 KC-135E Stratotanker aircraft, which has been the primary refueller for more than 50 years.

Boeing is under a contract to deliver 18 KC-46 refuelling aircraft by 2017 as part of the KC-135 replacement programme, which will continue until 2028, with initial flight of the first aircraft scheduled in late 2014.

Image: Boeing KC-46A Tanker to replace USAF’s aging fleet of 176 KC-135E Stratotanker aircraft. Photo: Boeing.