Boeing Begins NATA AWACS Tests
Boeing [BA] has begun flight tests on the first of 17 NATO AWACS aircraft upgraded under a $1.3 billion Mid-Term Modernization program. The tests culminate seven years of engineering, manufacturing and design, and they feature operational scenarios aimed at demonstrating the enhanced capabilities of the mission system. Testing should be completed sometime in March 2005.
The modernization includes integration of improvements to the fleet’s computers, displays, communications, navigation and target identification systems. Hardware to retrofit the rest of the fleet is currently in production.
The flexibility of the mission system lets NATO AWACS aircraft receive mission orders via software from a remote location and updates from satellite data links, said Mark Ellis, Boeing NATO AWACS programs manager. The system is designed to electronically integrate the updates into the mission computing system to significantly enhance fleet capability, he added.