A Tanker’s View of the World

A cockpit flight-display on USAF’s future KC-46 tanker will simultaneously show aircrew vital data from other aircraft, command centers on the ground, and sensors—painting a complete picture of the mission and airspace around the aircraft. The Tactical Situational Awareness display built by prime avionics contractor Rockwell Collins delivers “an integrated situational awareness picture to the aircrew,” explained Mike Jones, tanker and transport director at Rockwell Collins, Monday during AFA’s Air & Space Conference at National Harbor, Md. “That picture presents things like tracks, mission assignments, present position—it brings in intelligence information, integrates it together into one view for the aircrew,” he added. Pulling data from a ground, air, and onboard sources, information on the location of an inbound fighter, other tankers operating in the area, or a mission update could just as easily be fed from an E-3 AWACS, a command center, or “any aircraft in a link 16 network” noted Jones.