The first of four French Air Force Boeing E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft has passed through its mid-life upgrade (MLU), with the remainder set to follow by the end of 2016, the company announced on 17 February.
Boeing and Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) have upgraded the aircraft's electrical, mechanical, and structural systems, and mission hardware, in a process that took eight months. The first MLU-upgraded E-3F will now undergo ground and flight tests at Avord Air Base before being delivered to the French Air Force later in 2014.
According to French publication Air & Cosmos , this first aircraft is serial numbered 202.
The USD354 million MLU will equip the 707-derived airframes with new sensors - following on from updates to the communications, mission computers, and displays - and is a mix of work done to the NATO and US Air Force (USAF) Block 40/45 aircraft.
Improvements include an enhanced primary AWACS display; an improved identification friend-or-foe (IFF) system; better combat identification capabilities; the Link 16 datalink; improved sensor and datalink integration through the multi-source integration process; an increase in the number of mission console stations from the current 10 to 14; upgraded computer processing equipment and battle-management tools as well as an open-system architecture.