An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 40th Flight Test Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, refuels from a KC-135 Stratotanker during Air & Space Power Expo '99. The Expo was put on for congress to show how ready the U.S. Air Force is for the next millenium. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
Rockwell Collins has completed upgrading the U.S. Air Force’s McDonnell Douglas KC-10 fleet, the company said. With the 59th Flight2 integrated avionics system upgrade, Rockwell Collins has finished this portion of a six-year contract.
“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, VP 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.”
The goal of the six-year contract was to bring the Air Force’s fleet into compliance with new CNS/ATM mandates for accessing global airspace, Rockwell Collins said. So far, the company said it has completed more than 800 of these upgrades for the Air Force, on airframes including the Lockheed C-130, Boeing KC-135 and Boeing E-3 AWACS (airborne early warning and control system).
The KC-10 upgrade program also had Rockwell Collins maintaining the required FAA and military aircraft certifications and performing flight tests. To save time and money, the company said it performed dual certification and flight testing.