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New Glass For KC-135 Tankers

ARINC To Start Upgrades Under Air Force Block 45 Program

As the Air Force gets ready to evaluate bids for a tanker to replace the KC-135, the existing aircraft are still flying daily, and need to be kept as up-to-date as possible. ARINC Engineering Services, LLC announced Wednesday it has contracted with Rockwell Collins to perform the initial installations of the Block 45 avionics upgrade on the U.S. Air Force's tanker fleet.

The installations will begin in early 2011 with two prototype EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development) airframes.

Many of the KC-135 aircraft date from the 1960s, and all are expected to receive Block 45 upgrades over time. The upgrades include a new autopilot/flight director, radar altimeters, removal of 21 analog instruments, and a modern large-format color digital engine instrument display in the cockpit.

ARINC will perform the work at its aircraft modification facility near Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. ARINC currently operates the largest commercial hangar in the area and has facility expansion plans in the works for current and projected workload.


File Photo

"ARINC is proud to partner again with Rockwell Collins on vital systems upgrade work for the KC-135 aircraft," stated Jeffery D. Willis, Engineering Director, ARINC Aircraft Integration & Modification Defense Programs. "We already have a strong work portfolio with Rockwell Collins, including Block 35 GATM installations for "Open Skies" surveillance aircraft, and Block 40 Circuit Breaker Replacements using kits fabricated at our own facility."

Phil Jasper, Vice President and General Manager of Mobility and Rotary Wing Solutions for Rockwell Collins, stated "The Block 45 upgrade continues Rockwell Collins' role in transforming the KC-135 by replacing obsolete components with the latest digital avionics for increased safety, efficiency and reliability. As the prime contractor for the KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) program, we've had a very successful history of delivering these upgrades for the Air Force on time and on budget."

FMI: www.arinc.com

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