Boeing has received a $37.6-million contract to enhance the flight deck of NATO’s fleet of 17 E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
Under the contract, the fleet’s flight deck systems will be upgraded to meet near-term European civil air requirements for reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM). RVSM will allow the E-3s to operate in areas where the air traffic control vertical separation requirements have been reduced to handle increased air traffic.
Additionally, the AWACS aircraft will be outfitted with an Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS). ACAS works with the aircraft’s Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder to detect other aircraft within ACAS protected airspace. If an aircraft comes too close, the system sounds an alert and provides a message to the AWACS flight crew to avoid a collision.
According to a statement, the upgrades are expected to be completed in 2003-2005. Boeing will be responsible for the engineering design, hardware kit build, system integration, analysis, and certification support.
AWACS is said to be the world’s standard for airborne early warning & control systems. The system is currently integrated into militarised 707 and 767 aircraft, and fills the need for both airborne surveillance and command and control functions for tactical and air defence forces.