Astronautics Corporation of America’sAFI4700 RoadRunner electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) will be used to upgrade part of the United States Air Force (USAF) T-38A/B fleet as part of a low-cost avionics modernization program (LAMP) under contract with Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
The fleet avionics upgrade program includes two RoadRunner EFIs and two installation kits per aircraft, along with spares, for a total of 59 aircraft and over 140 RoadRunner EFIs.
The RoadRunner EFIS is a technical standard order (TSO) approved, commercial off-the-shelf, form-fit-function avionics upgrade replacing the aging electromechanical attitude director indicator (ADI) and horizontal situation indicator (HSI) primary flight instruments with a modern digital display system. Suitable for both fixed-wing and rotary-wing applications, RoadRunner provides reduced operating costs, minimized installation downtime, and enhances pilot situational awareness with its ability to display wide-area augmentation system/localizer performance with vertical guidance, terrain awareness, traffic, weather, and in the future, synthetic vision. RoadRunner is readable in all lighting conditions and is night vison compatible.
“Astronautics’ LAMP solution will enable the T-38 aircraft to remain a contributing member of the USAF’s inventory for the foreseeable future,” said Jim Jackalone, Astronautics’ vice president of business development. “Our RoadRunner EFIS is not only a cost-effective, form-fit-function, rapidly fielded upgrade, but also one with Federal Aviation AdministrationTSO certification and new capabilities that enhance safety and situational awareness for USAF pilots. We are seeing demand for the RoadRunner upgrade solution from customers all around the world.”
“Astronautics takes great pride in helping to extend the life of the T-38, given that the aircraft trains and maintains the flight currency of the pilots that fly our nation’s most valuable and sophisticated assets,” commented Rob Grasse, Astronautics’ RoadRunner T-38 program manager. “Our drop-in replacement RoadRunner EFIS will upgrade the T-38’s aging ADIs and HSIs—without modification to cockpit panels—resulting in quick turnarounds that will enable these high-value pilots to keep flying.”
In the late 1990s, Astronautics designed and subsequently manufactured mission data processors for the T-38 as part of the USAF Avionics Improvement Program.
The T-38 Talon — originally manufactured by Northrop Grumman — is a two-seat, twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer derived from the F-5 and used by the USAF for pilot education. It was the world’s first supersonic trainer, and the USAF is its largest operator.