Upgraded AWACS Tested at Northern Edge

Airmen recently got a chance to test the Block 40/45 E-3G Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft during Northern Edge 2015 in Alaska. The upgraded computer platform “advances” the AWACS “old operating system by about 30 years,” improving weapons and surveillance scopes, states the release. “It provides more situational awareness,” said 1st Lt. Breann Hermann, an air weapons officer with the 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron at Tinker AFB, Okla. “You can personalize it, and now you can build unlimited airspaces. It’s more reliable and more technologically advanced.” The 964th and 966th AACS squadrons conducted some 15 command and control missions during the two-week exercise, using both the old and new systems. After each mission the crew provided feedback on the Block 40/45. “The system cuts down on [operator’s] steps. The ease of use is drastically higher, and the tracking process goes faster,” said Maj. Dan Sprunger, the 964th AACS mission crew commander, in a July 1 release. About 200 aircraft and 6,000 Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, and Coast Guardsmen participated in Northern Edge.