Military Embedded Systems

Open-architecture air-combat training system for U.S. military passes crucial milestone


February 01, 2021

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Open-architecture air-combat training system for U.S. military passes crucial milestone
Collins Aerospace photo.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. Collins Aerospace and project teammate Leonardo DRS announce the successful initial flight of the TCTS Inc. II Air Combat Training program on an operational F/A-18E/F Hornet by pilots in the U.S. Navy. The initial flight took place out of Naval Air Station Patunxet River (Maryland).

TCTS Inc. II is a scalable, flexible open-architecture system that facilitates highly secure air combat between Navy and Air Force aircraft, both 4th- and 5th-generation platforms; and is also aimed at making more efficient size, weight, and power (SWaP) decisions while bringing new operational capabilities to the given platform.

Collins Aerospace information describes the TCTS II as a system that securely connects the aircraft to the training space (other aircraft, ground, sensors, and threats) for a realistic training experience, which vastly improves training realism in simulated, highly contested combat environments. TCTS II also features Synthetic Inject to Live (SITL) capabilities, systems that connect the live aircraft with synthetic sensors and threats to training in a more realistic environment; and collects relevant data to rapidly develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures within a matter of weeks instead of months or years. 

“TCTS Inc. II is a massive leap in technology and training realism, and the first flight we witnessed at Pax River brings this program to life,” said Heather Robertson, vice president, and general manager, Integrated Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force pilots will be able to train as they’ve never been able to train before with secure cross-service air combat training and joint Live, Virtual, and Constructive-enabled capabilities. When it comes to redefining the future of training, this program certainly delivers, and I can’t wait to see its full potential realized.”

The recent initial flight, a part of the developmental test phase, helps lay the groundwork for the production decision – Milestone C -- for the program, anticipated in 2021.

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Collins Aerospace

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Charlotte, NC 28217-4578

Leonardo DRS

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Arlington, VA 22202

U.S. Air Force

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Washington, DC 20330-1670

U.S. Navy

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Washington, DC 20350-1200