Rockwell Collins has completed upgrading the U.S. Air Force’s KC-10 tanker aircraft fleet with its Flight2 integrated avionics system. The upgrade provides worldwide communications, navigation, surveillance (CNS), and air-traffic management (ATM) system compliance for unrestricted operation in commercial airspace and is part of a six-year contract to bring the KC-10 fleet into compliance with CNS/ATM mandates for accessing global airspace.
The Flight2 system features the latest display and avionics technologies and an open architecture for ease of integration with legacy analog avionics systems. It has been installed on a number of fixed-wing aircraft, including the C-130, KC-135, E-2C, C-2A, E-3, and more. For communications alone, the scalable Flight2 system includes HF, VHF, mode-S TCAS, and TACAN/DME/ADF communications capabilities. For situational awareness, it combines weather radar and a digital moving map with a multifunction display (see photo).
The completion of this work adds to more than 800 CNS/ATM upgrades by Rockwell Collins for Air Force aircraft that include the C-130, KC-135, and E-3 AWACS aircraft. Over the course of the KC-10 upgrade program, Rockwell Collins maintained the required FAA and military aircraft certifications and performed flight tests for the Air Force with reserve KC-10 pilots and contract crews.
“With our new avionics onboard, KC-10 pilots enjoy situational awareness and communications improvements as well as more direct routing and reduced fuel consumption,” said Dave Schreck, vice president and general manager of Airborne Solutions at Rockwell Collins. “The completion of this program adds to our long history of successful, low-risk CNS/ATM upgrades to keep Air Force aircraft in service longer.”