The US Air Force (USAF) has selected Rockwell Collins to enhance and improve the communications capabilities for the service’s KC-135R Stratotanker military aerial refuelling aircraft fleet.
Under the deal, the company will provide real-time intelligence, command and control capability to the KC-135R fleet with the integration of the Real Time Information in the Cockpit (RTIC) system.
With the integration, Rockwell Collins will use the RTIC solution with Link 16 communications on board the USAF’s legacy tanker aircraft for the first time.
Rockwell Collins Airborne Solutions vice-president and general manager Dave Schreck said: “Pilots and boom operators will now be able to view intelligence feeds on the new avionics displays we’re providing as part of their Block 45 upgrade.
“With information such as enemy threats, target data, and blue force locations at their fingertips, crews will gain real-time situational awareness to more effectively carry out their missions.”
As part of the project, the company will be responsible for system integration and testing to relay, control and display information on to the refuelling tanker’s existing avionics and other stand-alone displays.
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The RTIC system implemented on the KC-135R Stratotanker leverages the successful Block 40 and Block 45 avionics architectures and several other components from the RTIC programme of the USAF C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft.
Designed primarily to refuel long-range bombers, the tanker’s lower fuel consumption and improved performance enables the aircraft to carry more fuel, making it possible to transfer an increased amount of fuel to the receiving aircraft.