Navy Awards Rockwell Collins Contract to Upgrade E-6B flying Command Post

By Dave DeWitte, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The United States Navy has awarded Rockwell Collins a contract potentially worth $295 million to modernize 11 E-6B communications relay and flying command post aircraft.

The contract is part of the Navy's Block I Modification program, which modernizes the E-6B's data communications to meet increased bandwidth needs.

The upgrade helps provide reliable and survivable communications between national leadership and strategic forces, and improves the Navy's communication and mission capabilities, according to Dave Nieuwsma, vice president and general manager of airborne solutions for Rockwell Collins.

"This award is especially meaningful to Rockwell Collins as it signifies the continuation of a 40-year relationship supporting the Navy TACAMO (Take Charge and Move Out) mission," Nieuwsma said.

TACAMO links the National Command Authority with naval ballistic missile forces during times of crisis, according to the Naval Air Systems Command.

The Boeing-built E-6B Mercury aircraft were first deployed in 1998 at a unit cost of $141.7 million, modifying the E-6A aircraft, according to the authority's website. It can fulfill either the E-6A mission of communications relay for fleet ballistic missile submarines or serve as an airborne strategic command post. It is equipped with an airborne launch control system.

The contract includes unexercised options valued at an additional $241 million. The initial $54 million award covers material, installation and related work for the next three aircraft. The total program includes field service support, crew training and production engineering support.

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