The US Air Force has exercised options to demonstrate commercial datalink operations as part of Rockwell Collins' contract for the Boeing KC-135 global air traffic management (GATM) upgrade.

The demonstrations will evaluate the military utility of the airline operational-control datalink and VHF datalink (VDL) capabilities inherent in the GATM upgrade that is under development for the KC-135.

Commercial VHF, HF and satellite communications datalinks could be used for airline-style operational control and e-mail messaging, says Collins. Applications could include maintenance reports, fuel logs and flightplan uploads.

Under the GATM upgrade, commercial satcom, HF radios, HF datalink and a communications management unit will be installed in the KC-135. In addition, a VDL module will be added to the military U/VHF radios.

Source: Flight International