Boeing has delivered the second of two mission system simulators to NATO as part of the $1.32bn (£710m) Mid-Term upgrade of the organisation’s 17 E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
The simulator, delivered to NATO’s main AWACS operating base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, is said to feature 14 consoles on which AWACS operators train using real-world scenarios. The first simulator was delivered to the base in 2006.
Lee Strom, NATO AWACS programme manager for Boeing, said: ‘This is a key milestone in the transition of the fleet to the Mid-Term configuration and provides NATO operators with an exact replica of what they will see and experience on the AWACS aircraft.’
Brig. Gen. Stephen D Schmidt, commander of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force E-3A Component, added: ‘Our mission simulators are a critical capability we absolutely need to conduct multinational training and achieve full operating capability with NATO Mid-Term (NMT).
‘The team learned important technical lessons with the first simulator installation, applied them all and delivered a system that will produce more capable AWACS operators.’
Boeing assembled and integrated the mission simulator, General Dynamics Canada built the consoles, Thales provided internal communications and European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) provided the multisensor integration hardware and software.
The NMT upgrade includes new situation display consoles, an open architecture mission computing system, multisensor integration and enhanced communications, navigation and Identification Friend or Foe systems.
The enhancements are said to provide superior air battle management and increased interoperability with other AWACS platforms as well as fighter aircraft, ground stations, ships and satellites.
Retrofit of the entire NATO AWACS fleet will be completed by the end of 2008.