Collins to provide upgrade kits to convert Air Force KC-135 jets to glass cockpit avionics

Sept. 21, 2015
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., 21 Sept. 2015. U.S. Air Force avionics experts needed digital glass cockpit technology for the Air Force fleet of KC-135 refueling tanker aircraft. They found their solution from Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., 21 Sept. 2015. U.S. Air Force avionics experts needed digital glass cockpit technology for the Air Force fleet of KC-135 refueling tanker aircraft. They found their solution from Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., announced a $105.9 million contract to Rockwell Collins on Friday for KC-135 Block 45 cockpit analog/digital upgrade Group B kits.

KC-135 Block 45 cockpit analog/digital upgrade Group B kits are part of the Block 45 fleet modification program to upgrade the cockpit avionics of the Air Force Boeing KC-135 jet from analog mechanical instruments to digital instruments to digital instruments on digital displays.

The KC-135 Block 45 program will install a new autopilot, flight director, radar altimeter, and electronic engine instrument display, enhanced navigational capabilities aboard the Air Force's fleet of more than 400 KC-135s.

Related: ARINC to upgrade KC-135 for Rockwell Collins under Air Force Block 45 program

This upgrade is to solve obsolescence problems and enhance the KC-135's situational awareness. Mechanical gauges for the ageing fleet are difficult to find, expensive to buy, and are maintenance-intensive.

The KC-135 is a variant of the Boeing 707 four-engine passenger jetliner modified to refuel a wide variety of military aircraft in flight. They can refuel Air Force, Navy, and allied aircraft to help keep them on station for long periods of time.

On this contract Rockwell Collins will do the work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and should be finished by September 2024. For more information contact Rockwell Collins online at www.rockwellcollins.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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