GE Aviation announced Tuesday that they have signed an agreement with Boeing potentially worth up to $180 million to provide the mission control system for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A tanker. The agreement includes design, development and production throughout the life of the program. “We are committed to bringing our next-generation technologies to this new tanker platform," said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems. "These systems will enable the aircraft to perform with navigation precision not currently available to the tanker fleet and will help enable efficient operations in our future airspace."
GE Aviation was selected for the mission control system including the flight management system (FMS). The FMS provides the ability to fly shorter flight paths and idle-thrust descents which reduce fuel consumption, while lowering emissions and reducing community noise impact. GE’s mission control system will provide the integrated communications management function to support air traffic management data link, including the first implementation of the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network on a US DoD air vehicle to facilitate efficient operations in the future NextGen airspace infrastructure.
Software and hardware updates provide the latest technology to continue to meet the needs of the world’s evolving airspace, offering safe and efficient improvements to aircraft operations. GE’s optimized descent flight management system is an ecomagination product.
Boeing will build up to 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will begin to replace the Air Force's fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers.