The US Navy has awarded a $54m full rate production contract to Rockwell Collins for material procurement, installation and associated activities for the next three E-6B aircraft, as part of the aircraft's Block I modification programme.
The contract also includes options and covers a total of 11 aircraft, which brings the combined value of the modification programme to $295m.
Under the initial contract, Rockwell Collins will also manufacture and install three internet protocol bandwidth expansion Phase 3 modification kits.
The company will also produce four very low frequency transmit terminal kits for the Block 1A engineering change proposal, as well as one trainer upgrade on the mission avionics systems trainer.
Additional tasks involved in the order are production engineering support, field service support, operator and maintenance crew training classes.
The Block I modification will include providing open system solution for mission avionics, a voiceover internet protocol intercommunications system and an on-aircraft, multi-level secure network for message processing, radio control/monitoring and other mission applications.
In addition to improving electrical power and cooling systems, the programme enhances ultra-high frequency command, control and communication system's reliability and availability.
Work under the contract will be carried out in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Richardson, Texas and Patuxent River, Maryland, US, and is scheduled to be complete in February 2014.
The US Naval Air Systems Command will serve as the contracting activity.
Capable of conducting both 'Take Charge and Move Out' (TACAMO) and US Strategic Command Airborne Command Post missions, the US Navy's E-6B aircraft has been designed to provide survivable and reliable airborne command, control and communications between US strategic and nonstrategic forces.
Image: A US Navy's E-6B aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Rockwell Collins, Inc.