And they are a work in progress for the troubled air to air jet refuelling aircraft made by Boeing….
Marking a shift away from more than three years of delays, challenges and frustration for the U.S. Air Force, the program’s brighter outlook builds on two agreements announced between Boeing and the service last April. The first covered the redesign and retrofit of a fully compliant boom operator remote vision system (RVS), at no cost to the government, while the second released $882 million of withheld payments to Boeing for previous noncompliance in 33 KC-46A deliveries.
“That was a real turning point, and it’s been extremely collaborative since then,” says Boeing KC-46A Vice President and General Manager Jamie Burgess. “That’s really been cultivated by the agreement that we reached on the new RVS system,” he says, acknowledging the change to the relationship with the Air Force. “For a while, we were at a bit of an impasse in terms of what needed to be done to address the Air Force’s concerns. There’s a lot of hard work left to go, but it’s been a really long relationship now,” he adds.
Boeing is working on a two-phase approach to correct the well-documented RVS deficiencies that were revealed during flight tests. These defects mostly center on the oversensitivity of the aft-looking camera system to direct sunlight, which led to image issues in the hybrid 2D-3D video feed to the boom operator. “The first phase is really just intended to address that distortion piece of it, and that’s primarily a software change that’s being implemented now,” Burgess says. The fix, dubbed the enhanced RVS, “digitally addresses the distortion around the edges of the picture,” he adds.
The fix will also make viewing the system “more comfortable for the operator when looking through the 3D glasses,” says Sean Martin, KC-46A global sales and marketing leader, referring to the stereoscopic eyewear required for the system. “It makes the image more like what they are used to seeing in real life.”
The second phase, and the subject of the Air Force agreement, is RVS 2.0. Described by Burgess as “a full technological refresh of the system,” the revised package will include new cameras, new displays, a light-detection and ranging (lidar) system and all new supporting computing infrastructure. The redesigned aerial-refueling operator station will feature much larger 40-in. displays compared with the current 24-in. screens, giving the position “much more of a kind of home theater feel to it,”…..
image…FlightGlobal/US Air Force