THE REPUBLIC of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is planning a follow-on cockpit avionics upgrade for four Boeing KC-135A tanker aircraft being purchased from the US Air Force.

Singapore wants to retrofit the four tankers with new two-man avionics suites eventually, similar to those in the USAF's KC-135 Pacer Craig upgrade programme. Work would include installing new "glass-cockpit" displays, global- positioning systems and inertial- navigation systems.

It is understood that the new avionics systems will not be fitted until after the aircraft have been re-engined and delivered in 1999. Instead, the avionics upgrade will probably be performed locally by Singapore Technology Aerospace during depot-level maintenance.

The four aircraft, purchased at a total cost of $225 million (£140 million), will be pulled out of desert storage and sent to Boeing's Wichita plant for modernisation. Work on upgrading the aircraft to KC-135R standard is due to start towards the end of this year.

A $500 million upgrade and logistics support package has been agreed. Work will include re-engineing the tankers with CFM56-2B turbofans, installing new wiring and refurbishing the airframe and the existing analogue cockpit. The aircraft will have flying booms and two underwing-mounted Flight Refuelling Mk.32B hose drum units.


Source: Flight International