ARINC Engineering Services, of Annapolis, Md., started installation of new cockpit avionics on the first of two ‘Open Skies’ OC-135B observation aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, the company said Thursday.
Under a subcontract from Rockwell Collins, ARINC is installing the Rockwell KC-135 Block 40 Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) navigational upgrade kit, and additional communications systems. The work is being performed at ARINC’s Aircraft Modification and Operations Center (AMOC) in Oklahoma City. The upgrade work includes most major systems in the OC-135B cockpit, including a new Embedded Global Position/Inertial Navigation System, Multi-Function Displays, Altimeter, HF Data Link (VDL) and SATCOM 2000 Systems, Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR), Communication Management Unit (CMU), and a Digital Interphone System.
The 34 signatory states to the 2002 Open Skies treaty use observation aircraft in fly-over inspections to verify the status and location of military resources of other signatory states. The new GATM avionics are required to bring the U.S. planes’ navigation systems up to ICAO standards. GATM navigation uses multiple satellite technologies (GPS and Galileo) in place of conventional ground-based navigation systems, and it has the potential to provide seamless global navigation in support of all phases of flight, according to ARINC.
The Open Skies OC-135B is a highly modified KC-135 airframe equipped with advanced photographic, video, and recording equipment, and accommodations for extra crew members, surveillance specialists, and technicians.