US Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) revealed on December 2 that it will field an interim solution for the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker fleet’s troubled Remote Vision System (RVS) from 2021.
The USAF decided to implement the new interim improvements – known as the Enhanced Remote Vision System (ERVS) – after reviewing data from a number of demonstration flights that occurred over the summer. The ERVS updates include software-only improvements that will help fix image distortion issues and tailor the display for each user’s specific vision characteristics on the systems currently employed by the KC-46A.
AFMC states that the ERVS update is expected to be installed on operational KC-46As by late 2021, adding that it will not affect the fielding of the RVS 2.0. Having been agreed by both Boeing and the USAF, the RVS 2.0 will resolve the remaining Category 1 deficiencies that have been identified with the current RVS. The integration of the RVS 2.0 will be done at no additional cost to the US government.
Gen Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of the USAF’s Air Mobility Command (AMC), said: “The implementation of ERVS will provide some benefit to our Total Force boom operators in the near-term, but most importantly will not delay the fielding of RVS 2.0. Installing RVS 2.0 onto our growing KC-46 fleet directly supports my priority of advancing warfighting capabilities to maximise full-spectrum readiness and generate the credible capacity required to project the Joint Force.”
The RVS 2.0 will include 4K colour cameras with proper viewing geometry, operator stations with larger screens, boom assistance augmented reality and a laser ranger for measuring the distance of aircraft being refuelled. The USAF intends to begin initial fielding of the RVS 2.0 solution from late 2023.