Tanker Gets a New ROBE

A KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft from Fairchild AFB, Wash., has been fitted with an upgraded communications system—the latest Roll-on Beyond Line-of-Sight Enhancement, or ROBE Spiral 2. Spiral 2 required 18 months to develop, and it incorporates the latest data forwarding and satellite communications technologies. The idea for ROBE—first installed on KC-135s in October 2002—originated with former Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper, who wanted to use the tankers for other purposes while they flew their refueling orbits over hot zones. ROBE can take information from many different sources, combine them into one stream and upload to satellites—virtually eliminating the battlefield line-of-site problem. “What we’ve come up with is an interstate for communications,” said TSgt. Greg Meuser, of the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.