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Boeing selects BAE Systems to provide touch-screen control panels for Air Force’s KC-46A tanker

JOHNSON CITY, New York: Boeing has selected BAE Systems to provide its Interior Control Panel for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A tanker.

The panel leverages touch-screen technology and a user-friendly interface that allows an aircrew to efficiently control a variety of interior functions such as lighting, potable water, and waste tanks on the new aerial refuelling and strategic transport aircraft.

This selection marks the transition of BAE Systems’ 737 Attendant Control Panel (ACP) into a derivative airplane application, a conversion beginning only six months after first entering service on Boeing’s new 737 Sky Interior. The ACP was initially developed for the Next-Generation 737s equipped with the new, passenger-inspired cabin upgrade. The ACP’s reconfigurable display and modular design allows ease of customization for a wide variety of aircraft interiors.

“Initially designed for commercial aircraft, our touch-screen technology is well-suited for military applications as well,” said Steve Hissong, director of aircraft electronics for BAE Systems. “The system can be easily installed on legacy aircraft, making our touch-screen controls an optimal solution for the KC-46A – whose design is based on a reconfigured Boeing 767.”

BAE Systems’ vast experience working with the Boeing 767 – the company supplies approximately 107 part numbers on the aircraft – played a key role in the company’s selection as the cabin controls supplier for the Air Force’s air refuelling aircraft.

The touch screen controls system features a durable, FAA-certified design with intuitive controls, a color touch-screen display, and a variety of peripheral and network ports. Configurable to airline preferences (as on the 737 aircraft), the panel can control a number of cabin system functions including dynamic “mood” lighting; environmental systems such as cabin climate control; in-flight entertainment; and assorted cabin attendant functions such as lavatory status, water and waste water tank levels, and smoke detector status. The panel’s ability to capture system fault data also simplifies maintenance for airlines and military air crews.

Work on the KC-46A tanker touch-screen cabin control systems will be conducted in Johnson City, N.Y., and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Ref. 175/2011