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AFLCMC Directorate Updates KC-135 Aircraft with Modernized Transponder Tech

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KC-135 Aircraft
KC-135 Aircraft

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's (AFLCMC) tanker directorate incorporated an updated transponder system designed to provide airspace visibility to air traffic control into the U.S. Air Force's KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. 

The Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out system works to broadcast the location and position of an aircraft in real-time to provide aircrews with situational awareness capacities on nearby air vehicles, USAF said Tuesday. AFLCMC conducted "bite-size" field maintenance activities to streamline the modification of the KC-135 fleet into field-level box swap and routine flight software update efforts.

The team has already updated over 99 percent of the fleet and is slated to modify the last batch of aircraft after its return from deployment. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required the Air Force to implement the ADS-B Out platform to allow the KC-135 fleet to travel within controlled airspace.