Boeing modernizing AWACS aircraft

May 24, 2012 at 1:20 PM
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SEATTLE, May 24 (UPI) -- The flight decks and avionics of the U.S. and NATO Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft fleet will be modernized under a $368 million Boeing contract.

The Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract for the E-3 707s was given by the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts.

"This move from analog systems to a digital flight deck will enable the U.S. and NATO AWACS fleets to meet current and identified future air traffic management requirements for flying in worldwide airspace," said Jon Hunsberger, AWACS program manager for Boeing. "They also provide growth capability for any future requirements and solve the problem of diminishing manufacturing sources for flight avionics."

Boeing said it will integrate new and existing avionics and communications systems; develop a design for installation of new equipment; upgrade one aircraft for each AWACS fleet; flight-test the new systems; develop logistics support data; and train flight crews and maintenance personnel.

The upgrade on the first NATO aircraft will begin next year, while work on the first U.S. E-3 707 will begin in 2014. Completion of the work on the initial aircraft is expected to be completed by 2015.

Boeing said production contracts for the remainder of the U.S. and NATO AWACS fleets will be given in the future.

Rockwell Collins will supply the flight management system suite, Boeing said. Telephonics of New York, Thales of Belgium, EMS of Canada and Raytheon of Maryland will also contribute to the upgrade program.

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