Collins Aerospace to continue development of future VLF communications with submerged missile submarines

Jan. 22, 2024
Collins will perform critical design analysis and studies for an updated VLF system for the future E-6B TACAMO Recapitalization Program (E-XX).

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy strategic communications experts needed upgraded enabling technologies to communicate with submerged nuclear ballistic missile submarines and with national command authorities in wartime. They found their solution from Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $34.3 million order Thursday to the Collins Aerospace segment of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (RTX) to continue work to support a strategic Very Low Frequency (VLF) communication system.

Collins will perform critical design analysis and studies for an updated VLF system for the future E-6B TACAMO Recapitalization Program (E-XX). The order calls for Collins to support VLF design and obsolescence mitigation for the E-XX airborne VLF system modernization.

Related: Navy chooses Continental Electric to upgrade electronic components at submarine communications sites

The Navy chose Collins Aerospace in April 2022 to develop the VLF communication system for the E-XX project as part of Navy’s Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) weapons system.

Collins E-XX VLF communications work involves enhanced security measures for advanced and emerging threats, and seeks to meet size, weight, power consumption, and cost (SWaP-C) requirements for VLF system integration into a C-130J-30 aircraft, as part of initial E-XX platform testing.

TACAMO uses VLF radio waves transmitted from a wire trailing behind the C-130J aircraft to communicate with submerged ballistic missile submarines. VLF radios transmit a 50 baud submarine command-and-control broadcast which is the backbone of the submarine broadcast system, Navy officials say.

Related: Air Force chooses Boeing to upgrade submarine communications for airborne command post

VLF radio signals provide good performance in atmospheric noise, global coverage, and seawater-penetrating properties. The submarine VLF broadcasts operates frequencies from 14 to 60 kHz and consist of high-powered multi-channel MSK Fixed VLF sites and multi-channel LF sites located at 10 sites worldwide.

Collins engineers are following an open systems approach to ensure that the terminal and remaining portions of the weapons systems can be integrated easily on the E-XX C-130J-30 aircraft, and make new systems easy to maintain and upgrade.

On this order Collins Aerospace will do the work in Richardson, Texas, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and should be finished by January 2025. For more information contact Collins Aerospace online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!