The Air Refueling Systems Advisory Group (ARSAG) is holding their annual Conference in Orlando, Florida where Patriot Taxiway Industries’ is debuting its KC-135 LED Lighting Kit. President Steven Smits, stated “This lighting kit allows KC-135 units supporting the Aero Medical (AE) Mission to provide much needed lighting for the seriously injured soldiers and the medical crews supporting them as they are transported from the forward operating areas to military trauma care centers.”

Patriot Taxiway Industries Inc. developed the lighting kit with its own capital and resources. This was in response to a request from an Air National Guard unit looking to improve the poor lighting conditions the medical crews face while transporting injured troops in the huge tanker which has the original interior lighting from the 1950’s.

The lighting kit is designed to be portable and installed in the aircraft for missions on an as-needed basic. This allows the Air Force and the Air National Guard to bring improvement to the KC-135 without having to install the lights across the entire 400 aircraft fleet thus reducing the capital needed to revitalize the fleet. KC-135 Wings can support missions using 4 kits to cover 12 aircraft. The lights can easily be installed by maintenance troops in under an hour and are stored in protective cases. The illumination levels for the cargo hold are increased from 1 foot candle of light at patient level to 15 foot candles. The emergency exit luminescent arrows also charge much quicker than the existing lighting. The light sections simply affix onto an aluminum mounting bar that uses the existing hoist system in the aircraft cargo bay. The light sections can be controlled from a master control box or placed into remote control allowing medical crews to adjust lighting as needed for the mission.

When requested to develop the lights Mr. Smits challenged the Patriot Team, “ We need to make this light as the injured troops deserve better than someone holding a flashlight while critical care is being provided.” This program was driven on a fast track in part with the fact that three of the Patriot Team members are Air National Guardsman. Patriot invested the time to travel to the customer with prototype systems to get customer involvement in the development. The system is made to plug into recent power distribution improvements of the KC-135 fleet for the AE mission. Patriot has taken the light through the required testing to certify it for explosion proof rating. The light has passed the Electromagnetic testing and is currently awaiting evaluation by the Air Mobility Command and The Air National Guard.

Smits, who has served with the Wisconsin Air National Guard for 27 years, is President of Patriot Taxiways Industry, Inc, a veteran-owned small business that provides design, manufacturing, and delivery of quality LED products. Patriot Taxiways is exhibiting at the conference in booth 36.