The US Air Force has earmarked $497 million for the purchase of traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) and terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) avionics and, in doing so, has narrowed the field of competing manufacturers.

USAF aircraft programme managers will be allowed to buy the TCAS, already mandatory on civil aircraft, from the three big US vendors, AlliedSignal, Honeywell and Rockwell-Collins.

The USAF is also following the lead of the US Federal Aviation Administration, which will require the TAWS for all turbine-powered aircraft with six or more passenger seats. The TAWS vendors accredited by the USAF are AlliedSignal, with the enhanced ground proximity warning system; Teledyne Controls, the US marketing representative for the ground collision avoidance system developed by France's Dassault Electronique; and Honeywell, which teamed with British Aerospace for the TAWS.

USAF officials say that as many as 1,331 TCAS systems, worth $382 million, and 1,257 TAWS systems, valued at $114 million, will be installed on USAF aircraft, including Lockheed Martin C-5, C-130 and C-141 transports and the McDonnell Douglas KC-10 tanker.

Purchases will be made between now and 2002, but support service contracts will run for an additional five years.

Source: Flight International