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AFA 2021: US TRANSCOM awards Rolls-Royce contract for air refuelling management software prototype

The US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) has awarded Rolls-Royce a USD800,000 contract to demonstrate and continue developing air refuelling asset management software, according to a company statement.

The Rolls-Royce Air Refueling Optimization and Planning System (AROPS) is intended to increase air tanker availability and eliminate inefficiencies caused by disconnected systems and process challenges within a highly complex air refuelling enterprise. Nadine Melind, services executive for Rolls-Royce Digital Services, told Janes on 15 September, ahead of the Air Force Association's (AFA's) annual conference, that this is because the current air refuelling enterprise is a mix of software packages and general communication methods, such as email, mobile phone text messages, spreadsheets, and whiteboards.

The idea is to standardise the toolset to make it faster, more efficient, repeatable, and feature more effective communication, Melind said. Rolls-Royce's AROPS software will be more agile and will optimise assets for mission requirements, she added.

The company went on contract in May, and the award runs through January 2022, said Melind. Rolls-Royce is using a production version of the AROPS software, and is tailoring it to US Air Force requirements. The company plans to deliver the first version of AROPS to TRANSCOM in January for trials and testing.

Applied Aeronautical Systems Inc (AASI) is contributing to AROPS as a subcontractor and Rolls-Royce's software developer. Melind said that AASI has developed a software package that is used commercially and makes up part of the software tools involved in AROPS.

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