NATO: 250 M$ to Boeing to Modernize NATO AWACS Fleet

 Boeing has received a contract from NATO worth approximately $250 million to install digital flight decks and avionics on 13 of the alliance’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, which are based on the Boeing 707 commercial airplane.

The move from analog to digital flight deck and avionics technology is to ensure compliance with current and future air traffic control and navigation requirements, giving the aircraft broader access to airspace around the world.

“Increasing airspace access means greater mission efficiency by saving time and fuel during operations,” said Jon Hunsberger, Boeing AWACS program manager. “The improvements also provide the pilot and co-pilot user-friendly and customizable engine, navigation and radar data.”

The upgrade solves the challenge of finding out-of-production avionics for the AWACS fleet by utilizing readily available commercial-off-the-shelf digital avionics  and will result in crew personnel reduction from four to three.

The modifications begin in 2016 and will be completed by 2018 and will follow the earlier 368 $M Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) contract, awarded in 2012 to develop a design that modernized the flight deck and avionics of the U.S. and NATO E-3 707 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft fleet.

With these contracts, the AWACS fleet will benefit of an integrated new and existing avionics and communications systems; new flight-test systems; new logistics support data; and train flight crews and maintenance personnel.

The upgraded flight deck will feature five main displays, offering the pilot and co-pilot user-friendly and customizable engine, navigation and radar data. The upgrade also will result in a cost savings in personnel, because the flight deck crew will be reduced from four to three.

Partners of Boeing will be

  • Rockwell Collins: for the supply of the flight management system suite, including glass displays and air-data and flight-management computers.
  • Telephonics of New York,
  • Thales of Belgium,
  • EMS of Canada and
  • Raytheon of Maryland.

Previously, a Boeing-led team completed a major mission system upgrade for the NATO fleet in 2008 as part of the $1.32 billion Mid-Term Modernisation program.

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