General Dynamics completes NATO AWACS computer upgrades
General Dynamics Canada has announced the recent completion of a series of updated computer system deliveries for NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft. Under the upgrade programme General Dynamics Canada upgraded 16 operator consoles on each of the aircraft, as well as on two aircraft mission simulators.
According to the company the AWACS Computer Upgrade Project was awarded to General Dynamics Canada by the NATO AWACS Programme Management Agency (NAPMA) in July 2009.
General Dynamics Canada claims that the upgraded operator consoles, designed and engineered specifically for the NATO AWACS aircraft and simulators, ‘deliver a substantial improvement in computing features, capabilities and performance compared to the previous system. Among the improvements, the upgraded consoles deliver faster collection and collation of situational awareness and tactical information, enabling mission operators to more efficiently track and direct air and ground assets while maintaining vital connections with ground command centres’.
According to the company press release, General Dynamics Canada also supplies the Mission Data Recorders (MDR) and Mission LAN Systems (MLS) for the NATO AWACS fleet. The MDRs record, time-tag and store all mission data and audio communications that take place during a mission. The MLS is the central backbone of the fibre-optic local area network within the aircraft. It provides switching of all high-speed Ethernet data communications among the mission consoles, multi-sensor integration computers, the MDR and airborne mission computers.
NATO operates a fleet of 17 Boeing E-3A 'Sentry' AWACS aircraft from the NATO Air Base in Geilenkirchen, Germany. The NE-3A is a modified Boeing 707 equipped with long-range radar and passive sensors capable of detecting air and surface contacts over large distances.
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