Boeing wins AWACS modernisation contract
Boeing has announced that it has received an Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) contract to develop a design that modernises the flight deck and avionics of the US and NATO E-3 707 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft fleet. The company made the announcement 23 May, 2012.
The contract, worth $368 million, was awarded by the Electronic Systems Centre at Hanscom Air Force Base, and is the second phase of a cooperative program between the US Air Force (USAF) and NATO. The initial phase included subsystem requirements reviews completed in March.
According to the Boeing, the work will enable the US and NATO AWACS fleets to ‘meet current and identified future air traffic management requirements for flying in worldwide airspace’.
Under the contract Boeing will integrate new and existing avionics and communications systems; develop a design to install the 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.
Boeing said the upgraded flight deck will feature five main glass displays, offering the pilot and co-pilot user-friendly and customisable 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.
Installation is scheduled to begin on the NATO AWACS aircraft at a Boeing facility in Seattle during the third quarter of 2013. Modification of the US AWACS begins in 2014. Both will be completed by the end of 2015. Production contracts for the remaining aircraft in the fleets will be awarded later.
According to Boeing, Rockwell Collins will supply the flight management system suite, including glass displays and air-data and flight-management computers. Other suppliers include Telephonics of New York, Thales of Belgium, EMS of Canada and Raytheon of Maryland.
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