Fourteen avionics suppliers to provide aviation parts support for KC-46 aerial tanker in $1.9 billion deal

Oct. 24, 2022
The KC-46 tanker is based on the Boeing 767-200 widebody passenger jet, and can provide aerial refueling for U.S. and allied military aircraft.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Fourteen U.S. avionics suppliers will share nearly two billion dollars to support the U.S. Air Force and allied KC-46 Pegasus aerial tanker aircraft.

U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance experts will rely on these 14 electronics components suppliers to provide spare electronics parts for U.S. and allied KC-46A tankers under terms of contracts announced late last month collectively worth a potential $1.9 billion.

The 14 companies are:

-- AAR Government Services Inc. in Wood Dale, Ill.;
-- Aircraft Technical Development Inc. in Van Nuys, Calif.;
-- Aviation Repair Technologies LLC in Blytheville, Ark.;
-- Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
-- Davenport Aviation Inc. in Columbus, Ohio;
-- Honeywell Aerospace in Tempe, Ariz.;
-- S&K Logistics Services LLC in Saint Ignatius, Mont.;
-- SOI Aviation Inc. in Calabasas, Calif.;
-- Source One Spares LLC in Houston;
-- The Boeing Co. in Seattle;
-- VC Displays Inc. in Brooksville, Fla.;
-- Velo Aviation LLC in San Diego;
-- VSE Aviation Services Inc. in Miramar, Fla.; and
-- Silver Wings Aerospace Inc. in Homestead, Fla.

The KC-46 tanker aircraft is based on the Boeing 767-200 widebody passenger jet. The multirole aerial tanker can refuel all U.S., allied, and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. In addition to refueling other aircraft in midair, the KC-46 also can carry passengers, cargo, and medical patients.

Related: Boeing names electronic subsystems suppliers for Air Force KC-46 aerial refueling tanker aircraft

The KC-46 aircraft can detect, avoid, defeat, and survive threats using several layers of electronic protection that enable it to operate safely in medium-threat environments, Boeing officials say.

Honeywell Aerospace, Northrop Grumman Corp., and Raytheon Technologies Corp. are among the companies providing avionics subsystems and components for the KC-46.

Honeywell Aerospace in Coon Rapids, Minn., provides the air data inertial navigation system for the KC-46, while the company's facility in Phoenix provides the auxiliary power unit. The Honeywell Aerospace facility in Tucson, Ariz., provides the KC-46 cabin pressure control system, while the company's facility in Urbana, Ohio, provides the tanker's lighting system.

The Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems segment in Rolling Meadows, Ill., provides the KC-46's Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM), while the Raytheon Intelligence & Space segment in El Segundo, Calif., provides the tanker's digital radar warning receiver and digital anti-jam global positioning system (GPS) receiver.

Related: Boeing selects Cobham for on-board inert gas generating system components for the KC-46 tanker

The Raytheon Collins Aerospace segment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides the KC-46 integrated display system with 15.1-inch diagonal liquid crystal displays, which are based on the avionics suite for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.

Collins Aerospace also provides the KC-46's tactical situational awareness system, remote vision system 3-D and 2-D technology for the boom operator, the communications, navigation, surveillance (CNI) system, networking, and flight-control systems.

The Leonardo DRS Technologies Inc. Laurel Technologies Partnership in Johnstown, Pa., provides the KC-46's aerial refueling operator station (AROS). The Eaton Aerospace facility in Grand Rapids, Mich., provides the tanker's electromechanical and cargo door actuation systems.

Woodward Inc. in Skokie, Ill., meanwhile, provides the sensor system, control unit, and telescopic and flight control sticks for the KC-46-s aerial refueling boom.

Related: Boeing selects L-3 T3CAS integrated surveillance system and FA2100 recorder for KC-46A tanker

GE Aviation Systems facilities in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Clearwater, Fla., provide the KC-46 mission control system avionics, which provide integrated communications management to support air traffic management data link, and enable the aircraft to perform with navigation precision not currently available to the tanker fleet.

GE Aviation also provides the KC-46 flight management system (FMS), which helps the aircraft fly relatively short flight paths and idle-thrust descents to reduce fuel consumption, while lowering emissions and reducing engine noise.

The KC-46 will replace the Air Force's fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, which are based on the 1960s-vintage Boeing 707 four-engine passenger jet. Boeing will build as many as 179 KC-46 aircraft.

On these contracts the 14 companies will do the work in various locations, and should be finished by October 2027. After the initial minimum award delivery order, all vendors will compete for follow-on orders.

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