Air Force outfits tankers with high-tech navigation systems

The Air Force plans to upgrade 550 of its tanker aircraft with cutting-edge commercial information technologies that will significantly improve flight safety by providing pilots with enhanced awareness of their surroundings and improved navigation capabilities.

The Air Force announced today that it awarded Rockwell Collins a $50 million contract for equipment to support the Compass, Radar and Global Positioning Systems program. The Air Force plans for the technologies to provide pilots with integrated flight management and integrated navigation systems as well as storage and retrieval of flight-planning data.

The specific systems being provided under the contract with Rockwell Collins include an air traffic alert and collision avoidance system, an enhanced ground proximity warning system and a forward-looking wind shear weather radar system. The Air Force plans to install the systems in 550 of its KC-135 tanker aircraft. To date, 50 KC-135s have been outfitted with the systems.

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