Boeing selects L-3 T3CAS integrated surveillance system and FA2100 recorder for KC-46A tanker

PHOENIX, 18 April 2014. Boeing engineers have selected the T3CAS Integrated Surveillance System and FA2100 Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) system from L-3 Aviation Products (L-3 AP) in Phoenix as standard avionics for the KC-46A Military Tanker program.

Boeing chooses mission control avionics from GE Aviation for Air Force KC-46A tanker aircraft
Boeing chooses mission control avionics from GE Aviation for Air Force KC-46A tanker aircraft

PHOENIX, 18 April 2014. Boeing engineers have selected the T3CAS Integrated Surveillance System and FA2100 Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) system from L-3 Aviation Products (L-3 AP) in Phoenix as standard avionics for the KC-46A Military Tanker program.

Boeing will deliver 179 tankers to the U.S. Air Force, if all options under the current contract are exercised, to replace a portion of the organization’s KC-135 Stratotanker fleet. By 2017, Boeing is to build four test aircraft and deliver 18 combat-ready tankers.

Boeing chooses mission control avionics from GE Aviation for Air Force KC-46A tanker aircraftBoeing chooses mission control avionics from GE Aviation for Air Force KC-46A tanker aircraft

“This pairing of our technology-leading surveillance platform and our industry-leading flight recorders is a great fit for the Boeing Tanker,” says Ralph DeMarco, vice president of sales and marketing for L-3 Aviation Products. “By leveraging T3CAS, Boeing is moving aviation forward to NextGen flight. Our versatile T3CAS system has a core set of functions that includes ADS-B In and Out capabilities, enabling Boeing to offer the U.S. Air Force and other military operators a unique set of surveillance capabilities – all coupled with our widely fielded flight recorder system.”

The T3CAS advanced integrated surveillance system features a Traffic Alert & Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), Mode S Transponder with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out transmission, and Military Airborne Surveillance System (MASS) to provide a higher degree of situational awareness for military flight operations.

The FA2100 CVR/FDR ensures compliance with the latest FAA, Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), and International Airworthiness requirements for recording Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) digital aircraft messages. The CVR system incorporates Recorder-Independent Power Supply (RIPS) capability, providing 10-minute emergency backup power to the CVR. The FDR includes high-speed data rate throughout to maximize both the number and the sampling rate of aircraft flight parameters that are recorded.

The Mode S Transponder within the T3CAS is certified to DO-260B, which enables ADS-B Out transmission that complies with EASA and FAA mandates and is capable of A3 sensitivity, the highest category of ADS-B functionality, ensuring the highest power output when transmitting and the highest sensitivity when receiving. The Mode S Transponder transmits highly accurate position, speed, and intent data about the aircraft in flight, officials say. The T3CAS also receives this information from other aircraft flying in the nearby airspace, which is known as ADS-B In.

MASS is an ADS-B In function that adds the unique military capabilities of rendezvous, refueling and formation station-keeping, as well as L-3’s proprietary Encroachment Alert function. During formation flight, the system works with the Mode S-IFF (identification friend or foe) Transponder to identify and distinguish between cooperative member and non-member aircraft. MASS complies with ATC guidelines to work in both military and civil airspace, providing TCAS II operations during non-military flights.

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The TCAS module within the T3CAS includes the latest Change 7.1 software, mandated for aircraft operating in Europe by December 2015. The TCAS module was also upgraded with Hybrid Surveillance capability compliant with the FAA Technical Standard Order.

The TAWS component bases its alerting on the actual climb performance capability of the aircraft to avoid Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). This higher level of safety is unique to ACSS TAWS products and provides operators with more time to clear terrain, as well as an increased margin to maneuver. This is of particular interest for the Boeing KC-46A Tanker, which is a multi-mission aircraft that has a wide range of weight and climb performance capabilities. The ACSS TAWS system also provides the patented “Avoid Terrain” call-out when a pull-up maneuver is not sufficient to clear the conflicting terrain.

L-3 Aviation Products (L-3 AP) is a provider of commercial and military avionics. L-3 AP manufactures a diverse line of safety and efficiency-enhancing products, including configurable voice and data recorders, collision avoidance systems, navigation products, display systems, and processors. L-3 AP also offers aftermarket services, including MRO and integrated performance-based logistics for military and commercial systems.

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