In a move that will significantly enhance the communication capabilities of the KC-46A tanker, Boeing has been awarded a $184 million contract by the U.S. Air Force. The upgrade will include line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight technologies with anti-jamming and encryption features, improving data and communications connectivity for joint and allied forces.
According to James Burgess, Vice President and KC-46 Program Manager at Boeing, this upgrade represents a long-term investment in both the aircraft and the Air Force. “The KC-46A is built to integrate cutting-edge capabilities directly into the DNA of the aircraft as the needs of the mission evolve,” said Burgess.
The KC-46A is already known for offering more secure communications and data integration than any other tanker, providing crew and fleet with situational awareness for real-time decision making. With this upgrade, it will further expand its battlespace network capabilities, including Advanced Battle Management System integration.
In 2022, the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC) approved the KC-46A for global combat operations, a major milestone for the aircraft. AMC leaders have described the KC-46A’s connectivity and situational awareness as “game changing,” demonstrating its critical role in the modern battlefield.
Boeing builds KC-46A aircraft on the 767 production line in Everett, Washington, supported by a supplier network of about 37,000 American workers employed by more than 650 businesses throughout more than 40 U.S. states. The company has delivered 69 KC-46A tankers to the U.S. Air Force and two to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, with plans to deliver four KC-46A tankers to the Israel Air Force.
This latest contract is a significant win for Boeing, demonstrating its continued commitment to investing in its products and providing the latest technology to its customers. It also highlights the importance of the KC-46A tanker in supporting joint and allied forces in the modern battlefield.
With increasing threats and challenges facing militaries around the world, advanced communication capabilities are more important than ever. The KC-46A tanker’s ability to provide secure and reliable data and communications connectivity will be critical in enabling joint and allied forces to respond quickly and effectively to changing situations.
In addition to its communication capabilities, the KC-46A tanker also boasts a range of other advanced features, including a state-of-the-art refueling system and a cargo deck that can accommodate a variety of equipment and personnel. These features, combined with its enhanced communication capabilities, make it a valuable asset for any military operation.
As Boeing continues to invest in the KC-46A tanker, it is likely that we will see further advances and improvements in its technology and capabilities. For joint and allied forces, this means a more capable and reliable platform for conducting missions and operations, ensuring the safety and security of personnel and equipment.
In conclusion, the $184 million contract awarded to Boeing to upgrade the KC-46A tanker’s communication capabilities is a significant win for the company and highlights the critical role that advanced communication technology plays in modern military operations. As the needs of the mission continue to evolve, Boeing remains committed to providing cutting-edge capabilities directly into the DNA of the aircraft, ensuring that the KC-46A tanker remains a vital asset.