£665 million AWACS contract

Northrop Grumman has signed a £665 million contract to provide aircraft-maintenance and design-engineering support services for the UK’s fleet of E-3D Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.


Northrop Grumman Corporation has signed the contract to provide aircraft-maintenance and design-engineering support services for the United Kingdom‘s Royal Air Force fleet of E-3D Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. Northrop Grumman was selected as the Preferred Bidder by the UK Ministry of Defence in July 2004.


The Sentry Whole Life Support Programme contract is valued at approximately £665 million over 20 years.


“This contract provides an excellent opportunity for Northrop Grumman, in partnership with the United Kingdom, to apply our supply-chain management expertise to help support the Royal Air Force’s AWACS modernization programme,” commented James O’Neill, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman’s Information Technology (IT) sector.


Northrop Grumman’s IT sector, the overall lead on the programme, will support the maintenance schedule for AWACS aircraft, ensuring that only one aircraft, out of a fleet of seven, is in scheduled maintenance at any given time. The IT sector will also provide systems integration, programme management and the information technology infrastructure. The contract also includes repairs of structural parts and inventory upkeep, support of design engineering, maintenance training, and conversion and management of technical publications in an electronic format.


Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector, with its experience with the US Air Force’s Joint STARS Total System Support Responsibility Program, will have engineering-support responsibility and design authority for AWACS. The company’s Electronic Systems sector will provide radar capabilities while Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector will offer interactive, electronic technical-manual support.


The Sentry is the United Kingdom‘s principal early warning and control aircraft and gives vital strategic support to the UK armed forces in operations around the world. The Royal Air Force operates seven of the Boeing 707-based aircraft at Royal Air Force Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK and the contract supports the aircraft through the out-of-service date, which will be in the mid 2020s.


The contract will employ approximately 165 people, with about 145 in the United Kingdom. Work on the programme will be performed at Royal Air Force Waddington. Northrop Grumman teammates on the contract include BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire; and FR Aviation, Christchurch, Dorset.