The French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) is to upgrade four E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
The modernisation project will include integration of a tactical satellite data link on the French Air Force aircraft.
Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) will carry out the modifications on the AWACS aircraft during the period between 2018 and 2020.
The new tactical satellite data link, along with existing satellite capabilities, will allow the in-theatre aircraft to exchange tactical situation reports with distant command centres that are out of radio range but connected to secure Internet Protocol (IP) networks.
The data will be exchanged in the form of Link 16 (JREAP-C) messages through an Inmarsat 4 link.
The new computer terminals, which will be installed on the consoles of the mission system, will implement messaging.
The four French AWACS aircraft have been in operational service since 1992, with plans to remain in service until at least 2035.
Under a separate contract awarded in July, Air France Industries has been tasked to upgrade avionics of the four AWACS.
The aircraft’s cockpit equipped with analogue indicators will be replaced by a ‘glass cockpit’ featuring five multifunction displays.
The Boeing-built E-3 AWACS can detect, identify and display hostile aircraft and friendly aircraft in the same airspace more than 322km away.
To date, the aircraft received several upgrades to radar, computing, satellite communications and air traffic management.