The Air Force is studying adding tankers to the Advanced Battle Management System that's under development. The aircraft would be used as
communications nodes. Tankers would make good nodes, because they have plenty of room in the fuselage for communications equipment, as well as extra
power. They also will be orbiting near contested airspace for long periods of time.
The KC-46 already has communications systems that would allow its addition to ABMS with minimal upgrades. The Air Force has funding for the first 50
KC-135s to be upgraded with Realtime Information in the Cockpit, which will include Link-16. That would give them a baseline for upgrades for ABMS.
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