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Technicians recently completed Block 40/45 upgrades to a fifth E-3 AWACS paving the way for initial operational capability with the new computer suite. "The 40/45 block upgrade for our aircraft is critical to our weapon system … and IOC declaration is a critical step in fielding this new capability," said Col. Jay Bickley, 552nd Air Control Wing commander at Tinker AFB, Okla. The first five AWACS received completely new computer suites, software, and networking equipment during Block 40/45 low-rate initial production. Once IOC is declared, the Oklahoma Air Logistics Complex will begin full rate production, upgrading the rest of the Air Force fleet by 2020, according to an April 9 release. The Air Force's Fiscal 2015 budget request seeks to cut seven Sentries from its fleet of 31 aircraft, meaning 24 AWACS would be upgraded to Block 40/45 standards, if approved.