A US Air Force E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System takes off. Boeing has been awarded a contract to upgrade NATO's fleet of E-3As. (US Department of Defense)
WASHINGTON — Boeing has been awarded a $250 million contract to upgrade NATO’s fleet of E-3A airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, the company announced Wednesday.
The avionics upgrades, designed to meet compliance with future aircraft regulations, will go on 13 of the 17 AWACS operated by the alliance. Those modifications will begin in 2016 with a 2018 completion date.
Perhaps most notably, the upgrades will also reduce the number of crew used on each plane from four to three, which will help reduce operating costs.
“Increasing airspace access means greater mission efficiency by saving time and fuel during operations,” Jon Hunsberger, Boeing AWACS program manager, said in a press release announcing the news. “The improvements also provide the pilot and co-pilot user-friendly and customizable engine, navigation and radar data.”
This is the second major upgrade for the NATO AWACS fleet announced in the last month.
At July’s Farnborough International Airshow, simulation company CAE announced it had been awarded a contract to upgrade NATO’s simulators. That deal is worth around $20 million, according to a source familiar with the agreement.