Travis AFB receives final upgraded KC-10
Travis Air Force Base (AFB) in California has received the 59th and final upgraded KC-10 Extender aerial refuelling tanker aircraft, bringing the six-year upgrade project to a close, the US Air Force (USAF) announced on 19 April.
KC-10 fleets at Travis and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, have been undergoing flight management system modifications since 2011. The new system being installed is called the Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management system (CNS/ATM).
The previous FMS 800 system used gyroscopes to display functions and status of the aircraft. These gyroscopes - which would often overheat and require maintenance - have been replaced with an infrared laser system. The system increases accuracy while generating less heat, which in turn increases fuel efficiency for the aircraft. The CNS/ATM also features a working phone, allowing aircrews to call anywhere in the world right from the aircraft during flight; is more reliable and decreases workload for both aircrew and maintenance.
Each modification took several months to complete. Once a KC-10 was finished, aircrews returned back to Oklahoma City to receive the aircraft and complete an acceptance check flight to ensure the upgrade was fully effective. If so, the KC-10 would be flown home to be replaced by the next in line.
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