Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking Beechcraft to supply automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) kits for 251 Navy T-6 aircraft and four Army T-6 aircraft.
ADS–B uses the aircraft's on-board GPS receiver to determine the plane's position. The system then automatically broadcasts its position to enable air traffic controllers and other aircraft to track its location. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all aircraft operating above 18,000 feet to use ADS-B after 1 Jan. 2020.
The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II is a single-engine turboprop aircraft based on the Pilatus PC-9 turboprop. The plane helps train new U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps pilots who eventually will move into high-performance jets. It replaces the Air Force Cessna T-37B Tweet and the Navy's T-34C Turbo Mentor. Textron bought Beechcraft in 2014.
Monday's order exercises an option on a $3.7 million sole-source contract the Navy awarded to Beechcraft in 2015 to install ADS-B Out on Navy and Army T-6 primary trainer aircraft. Beechcraft manufacturers the T-6, and is considered the only responsible source for the ADS-B upgrade.
Installing ADS-B systems on the T-6 requires upgrading the Global Positioning System (GPS) card assembly in the plane's integrated avionics computer with a new Space Based Augmentation System (SBAS)/Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) GPS card.
The job also requires replacing the T-6's Mode S transponder, GPS antenna, and upgrading the plane's ground-based training system avionics computers. The upgrade includes software modifications to the T-6 flight management system to accommodate the new avionics components and meet FAA supplemental type certification.
On this order Beechcraft will do the work in Wichita, Kan., and should be finished by September 2018. For more information contact Beechcraft online at http://defense.txtav.com, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.
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