Rockwell Collins’ technology for the KC46A one step closer to entering service


Just over a year after Rockwell Collins’ Remote Vision System (RVS) aided in the Boeing KC-46A tanker’s successful first refuelling test flight, the US Air Force has awarded Boeing its third lowrate initial production aircraft lot. The order includes 15 KC-46A aircraft as part of an overall plan to replace the Air Force’s tanker fleet. First deliveries of the KC-46A will begin later this year.

Rockwell Collins provides significan­t content on the KC-46A, including the innovative RVS, which combines 2D and 3D vision technologi­es in both visible and long-wave infrared spectrums, allowing the boom operator to safely refuel military aircraft in any weather and time of day, including ‘lights out’ operations.

“The cutting-edge technology developed for the RVS defies anything that’s previously been used for airborne refuelling,” said Dave Schreck, Vice President and General Manager, Airborne Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “This technology resulted from the hard work and innovative spirit of dedicated, profession­al teams from Rockwell Collins, Boeing and the Air Force. It also wasn’t just the RVS. This productive, collaborat­ive environmen­t applies to the numerous systems we’re providing on the KC-46A.”

In addition to the RVS, Rockwell Collins provides the following for the KC-46A tanker.

Integrated display system featuring four 15.1-inch diagonal liquid crystal displays, built on proven technology from the Boeing 787 programme, delivering significan­tly higher levels of reliabilit­y and safety; a Tactical Situationa­l Awareness System (TSAS) processor built on a Joint Interopera­bility Test Command ( JITC)-certified system, which provides situationa­l awareness to the crew, routing cues to avoid imminent threats in the area, and awareness of friendly entities; Signal data concentrat­or network, a DO-178B and DO-254 certified system that forms the avionics network on the aircraft and state-of-the-art communicat­ions, navigation, surveillan­ce, networking and flight control systems.

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