Collins Aerospace Wins $36M AFRL Contract to Build Aircraft Comms Pods

Image: RTX

Collins Aerospace nabbed a $36M Air Force Research Laboratory contract last week to develop a comms terminal to feed military and commercial satellite data directly to cockpits. 

“This resilient communications terminal is designed for survivability in degraded environments to offer military leaders enhanced situational awareness to make better decisions, faster across the battlespace” Collins VP Ryan Bunge said

The details: The platform-agnostic aircraft satcom pod is designed to provide reliable and high-speed beyond-the-line-of-sight satellite comms to troops regardless of where they are in the world. The terminal will be able to sync with a wide variety of current and future satellites in any orbit. 

  • “It is critical in a contested environment that the warfighter can communicate with operators regardless of communication path,” Bunge said. 

Pentagon 🤝 commercial satcom: The contract is part of a broader military push to improve cockpit comms—particularly in challenging and remote environments—by relying on commercial satellite constellations. In 2017, the Air Force established the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program to explore and execute the private-public collaboration.

L3Harris and Northrop Grumman have also won sizable contracts this year in support of the program.