The Air Force awarded Boeing a $368 million contract for the engineering, manufacturing, and development phase of modernizing the flight decks and avionics of US and NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft, announced the company May 23. “This move from analog systems to a digital flight deck will enable the US and NATO AWACS fleets to meet current and identified future air traffic management requirements for flying in worldwide airspace,” said Jon Hunsberger, Boeing’s AWACS program manager. During EMD, Boeing will upgrade one US and one NATO AWACS and then conduct flight tests with them. The updated flight deck will feature five main glass displays. Boeing said it will begin installations on the NATO aircraft in 2013 and on the US aircraft in 2014. Both aircraft are slated to be complete by the end of 2015. EMD is the second phase of this AWACS upgrade initiative; the initial phase included subsystem requirements reviews completed in March, according to Boeing.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.