The KC-135 program office is exploring possibilities for future communications capabilities for the fleet. The need for seamless and resilient communications and adaptable data pathways out to the tactical edge is critical. The intent is to increase the number of communications pathways by developing a commercial satellite communications option for the KC-135 platform to achieve the resiliency and adaptability necessary to remain relevant across the spectrum of competition. The system should employ a real-time Ku-band commercial SatCom antenna to allow beyond line-of-sight fast internet capability. Potential applications are to increase aircraft situational awareness communication; to improve mission planning; to improve aeromedical missions with real-time communications between onboard medical staff and specialist care, and to transfer patient medical information to destination medical facilities; to send flight or mission changes to an aircraft display device from the C2 node; to
show NIPR / SIPR connectivity (voice communication, email, web); and to provide weather and airfield updates to an aircraft display device. As an example, a KC-135 performing a normal refueling mission would utilize a communications profile that provides the minimum required bandwidth to maintain situational awareness and exchange command and control messages at the lowest cost. When that same KC-135 switches to an aeromedical evacuation mission, the communications profile changes to one that enables a much higher bandwidth and allows for additional capabilities to execute the new mission. The flexible communications profile will enable a variety of tactical missions across the spectrum of competition. Key features include:A service to transport IP-based data from an airborne aircraft to desired end points, and from end points to an airborne aircraft.Airborne hardware and software components developed to a common airworthiness qualification baseline.Separated, federated mission systems, meaning that the secure and non-secure IP stacks are separate, and both are not integrated with the flight-sciences portion of the aircraft and will not affect aircraft system program office certifications. CANS components are however required to meet either Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and/or Air Force airworthiness requirements.System integrates with the Real-Time Information in the Cockpit (RTIC)-modified version of the KC-135 as a platform baseline.System meets Air Force mandatory Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) such as net-readiness, operational availability, environmental survivability, cyber survivability, and electromagnetic survivability.There are 326 C/KC-135 aircraft based throughout the United States (U.S.), Pacific, and Europe that will receive the CANS upgrade. The KC-135 CANS upgrade will consist of: SATCOM antenna(s), SATCOM transceivers (receiver/transmitters), and all associated Group A/B components. Projected timeline for KC-135 CANS fielding is FY25 with installs continuing through FY28.The Government is conducting market research to identify potential sources possessing the production data/repair data, expertise, capabilities, and experience to provide internet access solutions(s) and integration of this planned upgrade into the current KC-135 platform with RTIC communications system. The contractor shall have the ability to leverage on-going, planned or future satellite communications system developments that could contribute to reducing total lifecycle cost and risk to the program.
Country : United States
naicsCode 336413Other Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing