Steve Nichols

Rockwell Collins has been selected to install its avionics in a range of US military aircraft in a deal saving the US Department of Defence an estimated $90 million.

The savings come as the military choose off-the-shelf products, adapted for military use, rather than going for full, bespoke systems.

The bulk of the deal involves equipping 600 KC-135 aircraft with the Collins FMS-800 Flight Management System (FMS) - the only system certified for both military and commercial uses.

The FMS is being integrated with the traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) and enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). Other systems being installed include flight display systems, forward-looking weather radar and INS/GPS navigation systems.

The new avionics simplify some of the cockpit tasks, meaning a full-time navigator is no longer required, and the TCAS system will help pilots monitor any potential flight path conflicts with other transponder-equipped aircraft. The EGPWS system provides pilots with terrain warnings on a map-like display and audible alerts.

These new systems, and others fitted as part of the USAF Pacer CRAG cockpit modernisation programme, will extend the life of the KC-135 well into the next century.

Other aircraft to be fitted with the FMS-800 include 76 US Army C-12s, 59 KC-10 long-range tanker/transports and 25 USAF C-9.

Source: Flight Daily News