Rockwell Collins and L-3 deliver Block I modernization including avionics for Navy E-6B

WACO, Texas 27 Feb. 2009 Rockwell Collins delivered the first installation of the Block I modification to the U.S. Navy's E-6B Mercury aircraft.

WACO, Texas 27 Feb. 2009Rockwell Collins delivered the first installation of the Block I modification to the U.S. Navy's E-6B Mercury aircraft.

Navy officials, Rockwell Collins senior leaders, and L-3 Communications leadership celebrated the milestone during a roll-out ceremony held at the L-3 Integrated Systems facility in Waco, Texas.

The Block I Modification features an open system architecture for mission avionics, a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) intercommunications system (ICS) and an on-aircraft, multi-level secure network for message processing, radio control/monitor, and other mission applications. The program also improves the reliability and availability of the Ultra High Frequency Command, Control and Communication (UHF C3) system and enhances the electrical power and cooling systems.

The Navy E-6B aircraft is used to conduct the "Take Charge and Move Out" (TACAMO) and the United States Strategic Command Airborne Command Post missions, providing reliable and survivable communications between the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense and the U.S. strategic forces, Rockwell officials say. The open solution provided by the Block I modification addresses immediate requirements and enables system expansion in the future.

"For 40 years, Rockwell Collins has supplied the avionics suite for many of the TACAMO aircraft. This milestone represents our latest commitment to provide the Navy the most advanced avionics and communications for a mission that is critical to our national security," says Greg Churchill, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Rockwell Collins Government Systems. "Design efforts on the program began in 2004 and the aircraft roll-out represents the culmination of more than 200,000 hours of dedicated engineering, manufacturing, and aircraft installation activity by Rockwell Collins and our principal subcontractor, L-3 Integrated Systems."

The Block I Modification solution provides an infrastructure to support moving data on, off, and throughout the aircraft even as user bandwidth demands increase in this emerging age of the digital battlespace. The E-6B Block I program also provides a template for transforming additional special mission aircraft to serve key roles in network-centric operations.

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