France to Upgrade its Air Forces' E-3F AWACS Fleet

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a $324 million under a Foreign Military Sale contract to upgrade four French Air Force E-3F Sentry (AWACS) aircraft. The upgrade program will modernize the mission computing systems on board, to be brought to a level similar to the U.S. Block 40/45 system. The change takes the AWACS fleet from large legacy mainframe computer architecture to modern Windows- and Unix-based mission computing which are more convenient to support. The added computing power improves situational awareness and combat identification capabilities. In addition to the processor upgrade, improved Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems and a multisource integration process will be installed. The later combines data from separate sources. (more...)

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Other changes include the introduction of new displays, consoles. Through the modification program a significant portion of the equipment currently on the aircraft will be removed and replaced by new wiring, consoles and computer racks. 

The upgrades are scheduled to be installed in the E-3F aircraft by Air France Industries in Le Bourget, France, beginning in 2012, following the completion of design and integration activity at Boeing Seattle. France will be the first international E-3 operator receiving Block 40/45 capabilities. Other operators of the E-3 Sentry platform include NATO, the U.K., and Saudi-Arabia.

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