USAF receives E-3 with cockpit upgrade
The US Air Force (USAF) has received back into service the first E-3 Sentry aircraft to undergo the DRAGON cockpit modification programme, the USAF announced on 17 January.
The DRAGON [Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation] programme upgrade ensures compliance with current and future air traffic control requirements in international and domestic airspace, allowing crews access to reduced vertical separation minimum airspace and optimal flight levels increasing fuel efficiency and reducing clearance delays.
The upgrade replaces 1970s analogue technology with digital flight management systems. The avionic indictors include multicolour graphic displays that customise and accurately portray engine, navigation and radar data; and new Mode-5 Identification Friend or Foe and Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast capabilities have been added to increase situational awareness and enhance flight safety.
DRAGON also automates the navigation functions by optimising crew resource management during flight operations. This system increases the navigational data reservoir encompassing GPS data to comply with new International Civil Aviation Organization and air force regulations. Additionally, the weather radar system safeguards aircrew by predicting and highlighting hazardous weather conditions.
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