A Texan trainer being worked on at the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast. (U.S. Navy)
Cobham will provide ADS-B Out solutions for the T-6A trainer upgrades that Scientific Research Corporation (SRC) is undertaking for the Defense Department. The total contract is worth over $15 million with Cobham's contribution valued at $3.8 million according to an SRC representative.
The Beechcraft T-6A Texan II turboprop is used as a trainer by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. SRC is in charge of retrofitting over 500 T-6As, 487 of which Cobham will supply with new RMS 555 radio management systems, which includes an ADS-B Out solution without the need to install additional transponder control display units. The T-6As currently have old versions of the same system, which made Cobham a natural selection for the contract, according to Michael Sasser, SRC's program manager for the T-6A.
The move is being made because the trainers need ADS-B Out capability, but the RMS 555's big selling point is that it consolidates the functions of multiple units into one. It has, for example, very-high-frequency (VHF) and ultra-high-frequency (UHF) transceivers, VHF navigation receivers, Mode S transponders and traffic collision avoidance system functionality, allowing the operator to save on cockpit real estate when integrating those capabilities.
The overall retrofit for the T-6A also includes an NGT-9000R wide area augmentation system (WAAS) GPS line-replaceable unit by L3 and Thales and an AV-801 WAAS GPS antenna by R.A. Miller Industries, per SRC. While Cobham is supplying the RMS 555, SRC will integrate it with the NGT-9000R to display call sign and ADS-B failures.
A Cobham representative said that RMS 555 installations would begin in the first quarter of 2019 and were expected to take the majority of the year; the deadline for ADS-B Out compatibility is Jan. 1, 2020.