Flying Command Posts Get Air Traffic Upgrade

The Air Force awarded Boeing the first phase contract of the three-phase Communications Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management upgrade of the E-4B fleet, announced the company. The four Boeing 747-based airborne command post aircraft will receive new flight management computers and software, enabling them to operate better in crowded airspace in compliance with FAA regulations. Boeing technicians will install these new systems, which are adapted from the company’s 737 series airliner, at the company’s facility in Wichita, Kan., during the aircraft’s routine maintenance cycle. Using off-the-shelf systems, Boeing “can provide this capability to our customer faster and at the best possible value,” said Glenn Winkler, Boeing E-4B program manager. Flight testing of the modified E-4B is expected to begin in late 2012. (See also Wichita Business Journal report.)