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Thu, Dec 07, 2017

Global Aviation Technologies Updating US Air Force C-21As

Fleet Of Wichita-Built Learjets Being Modernized To Operate In Next-Gen Air Traffic System

Global Aviation Technologies (GAT) in Wichita has received the first of 19 C-21A jets—the military designation for Learjet 35A model—that it will be updating with new avionics, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, or ADS-B, Future Air Navigation Systems or FANS 1/A, and Electronic Flight Information Systems that will allow them to utilize satellite-based navigation to operate in the Next Generation air traffic control environment. The aircraft were originally produced in the Air Capital and delivered to the United States Air Force between April of 1984 and October of 1985 to transport passengers and cargo or to provide aeromedical evacuation for one litter or up to five additional ambulatory passengers.

“This contract, which covers 19 aircraft, will extend and expand the utility and usefulness of these airplanes, “said Woody Cottner, GAT’s Vice President, Business Development. “We are proud to contribute to the further utilization of these Wichita-built airplanes. We’ll be updating the avionics to take full advantage of the advances in electronic flight management. We’re also very familiar with the Learjet airframe and its performance and durability, so this effort is both economical and practical on the part of the Air Force and we’re very pleased to be a part of it for that reason, too,” he added.  

Cottner said that Global Aviation Technologies expects to hire additional aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians before the end of the year to accommodate the additional work. GAT currently employs 22 at its facility at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. He indicated that the contract, which is valued at $32.2 million, will also include the replacement of original analog instruments with electronic upgrades, LCD screens, and weather radars. “We will not only add personnel, we’ll be going to two shifts in order to complete the contract on time,” he noted. The FAA has mandated that all aircraft flying in controlled airspace be equipped with ADS-B by January 1, 2020.

Global Aviation Technologies recently announced that it is also developing an upgraded version of the Beechcraft Premier 1A, known as the Premier Elite. In addition to airframe, aerodynamic, and interior enhancements, it will also offer optional avionics to ensure operators can comply with all Next Generation air traffic, navigation and communication requirements.

(Source: GAT news release. USAF image)



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