Block 10 / 20
The program is structured in two segments, Block 10 and Block 20. Both blocks underwent stringent testing to assess the new systems' operational effectiveness and suitability. Production kits began delivery by the contractor in mid-1997, with installations immediately following at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center.
Block 10 replaces the APN-59 radar with a Collins commercial color weather radar on 128 Air National Guard aircraft. These aircraft eventually will transition to the Block 20 upgrade.
Block 20 is a KC-135 fleet-wide modification. It includes the same Collins radar, new aircraft heading references, and installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) gear. The current N-1 and J-4 compass systems are approaching unsupportability and will be replaced by a GPS inertial navigation system and the existing Carousel IV-E inertial navigation system. Two flight-management, system-control display units also provide access to the fuel-savings advisory system.
A data-transfer and storage system allows crews to access 50 flight plans with up to 200 waypoints each. Information is viewed on the same multifunctional displays used in Block 10, but in Block 20 the displays replace the horizontal situational indicators and attitude directional indicators at the pilots' stations. Information projected on the displays is selectable by each operator and includes radar and route-of-flight mapping, including orbit patterns for air refueling. All aircraft will have wiring to the navigator station for placement of these same units, should the mission dictate. A new glare shield houses the radar and multifunctional display control panels. Some of the old round-dial instruments and warning lights have been removed and their data is now viewed on the new displays. The upgrades provide a cleaner layout to the entire instrument panel.
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