Defense Media Network

Boeing Delivers First AWACS With Digital Flight Deck Upgrades to NATO


Boeing delivered the first of 14 E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft with cockpit upgrades to NATO earlier this week.

The Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) digital flight deck and avionics enhancements bring the aircraft into compliance with current and future air traffic control and navigation requirements along with other upgrades, and allows the flight crew to be reduced by one.

Cockpit upgrades include a glass cockpit with five full-color displays, providing crewmembers with customizable engine, navigation and radar data.

“These improvements allow the removal of airspace restrictions, which saves NATO flight crews time and fuel and supplies operators with easier access to the information they need,” said Wendy Atkinson, Boeing AWACS CNS/ATM program manager.

e-3 awacs nato

NATO’s fleet of E-3 AWACS provide surveillance and battle management capabilities where needed around the globe. Boeing photo

NATO’s 13 remaining Sentries will also receive the upgrade under the $257 million modification effort, with completion expected in 2018. Upgrading of the second NATO AWACS is already underway.

The upgrades have also been installed on the first of 31 U.S. Air Force AWACS. The USAF Sentry is completing extensive flight tests and will deliver in 2017.

“The AWACS program is a vital asset for the NATO alliance and a best practice in transatlantic defense industrial cooperation,” said Brian Moran, vice president, Government Affairs for Boeing in Europe. “Partnering with companies from both sides of the Atlantic helped us get this important capability back in the hands of our customers on time and on budget.”