Upgrade for AWACS

Major mission system enhancements are being installed on the first of 17 NATO AWACS aircraft as part of the $1.32 billion Mid-Term Modernisation program.

EADS, as subcontractor to Boeing, is performing the work in Manching, Germany. It’s expected to be completed in November 2006 with the entire fleet scheduled to be upgraded in 2008. Boeing also will upgrade the two NATO AWACS mission simulators into the mid-term configuration.

“When deploying assets into harms way, information becomes a critical need,” said Mark Ellis, Boeing NATO AWACS program manager. “This is one of many enhancements supporting the NATO Rapid Response Force such as added communications with ground troops and voice and data satellite communications to reach back to the ground centres. All of these communications are managed through a digital communications distribution system on board the AWACS.”

The mission system provides NATO AWACS aircraft with the ability to receive modified mission orders digitally from a remote location after a mission is underway and electronically integrate the new orders into the mission computing system.

A multi sensor integrator provides an improved recognised air and surface picture with the integration of data from various sensors, as well as from other sources, and an increased capacity in the number of targets it can track.

Production retrofit follows an operational and test and evaluation program in Europe earlier this year when NATO crews assessed the capability of the improved mission system.