E-3 Sentry AWACS Flight Deck Modernization
Boeing has received a contract to develop a design that modernizes the flight deck and avionics of the U.S. and NATO E-3 Sentry (Boeing 707) Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft fleet.
Under the contract, Boeing will integrate new and existing avionics and communications systems; develop a design to install the new equipment; upgrade one aircraft for each AWACS fleet; flight-test the new systems; develop logistics support data; and train flight crews and maintenance personnel.
This flight deck upgrade will be the latest enhancement to the AWACS fleets. These enhancements include new computers, displays, advanced battle management tools and an open architecture, enabling rapid software upgrades.
“This move from analog systems to a digital flight deck will enable the U.S. and NATO AWACS fleets to meet current and identified future air traffic management requirements for flying in worldwide airspace,” said Jon Hunsberger, AWACS program manager for Boeing. “They also provide growth capability for any future requirements and solve the problem of diminishing manufacturing sources for flight avionics.”
The upgraded flight deck will feature five main glass displays, offering the pilot and co-pilot user-friendly and customizable engine, navigation and radar data. The upgrade also will result in a cost savings in personnel, because the flight deck crew will be reduced from four to three.
Installation is scheduled to begin on the NATO AWACS aircraft at a Boeing facility in Seattle during the third quarter of 2013. Modification of the U.S. AWACS begins in 2014. Both will be completed by the end of 2015. Production contracts for the remaining aircraft in the fleets will be awarded later.
Rockwell Collins will supply the flight management system suite, including glass displays and air-data and flight-management computers. Other suppliers include Telephonics, Thales, EMS and Raytheon.