The Utah Air National Guard (ANG) and Collins Aerospace have demonstrated integrated technologies and joint connectivity using a KC-135 Stratotanker.
The demonstration was conducted in support of Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) initiatives.
According to the US Air Force (USAF), the testing of advanced communication, mission computing and sensor technologies on the aircraft was held during the Utah ANG’s bi-annual Wingman Day.
It showcased a streaming connection between a mobile ground party, an airborne contracted aircraft, and the ‘Aircraft 0275’, which is the first and only Block 45 RTIC modified KC-135.
In July last year, the Utah ANG 151st Air Refueling Wing upgraded the first KC-135 with Nato-Standard Link 16 communication capabilities under its real-time information in the cockpit system (RTIC).
Utah ANG 151st Operations Group commander colonel Douglas Foster said: “This feat was accomplished as part of a cooperative research and development agreement between Collins Aerospace and the Utah Air National Guard and has never been done before using Tactical Targeting Networked Technology with the KC-135.”
According to the USAF, equipping the KC-135 with situational awareness capability through advanced tactical datalinks is the first step in developing a survivable tanker force.
Foster added: “This accomplishment showed that with minor modifications to the RTIC system, the bounds are almost limitless to what we can do with a 60-year-old aircraft, exemplifying Gen Brown’s ‘Accelerate Change or Lose’ mission statement.”