An aviation company in Wichita has been awarded a $32 million military contract to upgrade aircraft navigation systems in planes owned by the U.S. Air Force.
Global Aviation Technologies, or GAT, has received the first of 19 aircraft, the military's version of the Learjet 35A model, to modify. The Wichita-built planes, delivered to the Air Force in the mid 80s, will be updated with new navigation systems and surveillance equipment.
"It's a game changer because of the intense modifications that we are doing to the airplane," says Woody Cottner, GAT's vice president of business development. "It basically takes an old airplane and just breathes new life into it, new functionality. [It] definitely increases the pilot awareness and safety aspects of the airplane."
The company currently employs 22 people at Wichita's Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport and plans to hire additional aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians before the end of the year.
GAT will also go to two shifts to complete the contract on time. The FAA has mandated that all aircraft flying in controlled airspace be equipped with automatic dependent surveillance broadcast by Jan. 1, 2020.
Carla Eckels is a reporter and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.
To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.