Boeing successfully conducted its first test flight of a USAF E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft equipped with Block 40/45 upgrades. Company officials say this upgrade program is the largest enhancement in the history of the Air Force’s AWACS fleet. The three-hour test flight on July 15 demonstrated the compatibility between the upgrades and the aircraft’s existing systems. Upgrades include new mission computing hardware and software, upgraded radar equipment and navigation and communications systems. Testers will be making 24 flights over the next few months.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.