Boeing has been awarded phase one of the communications navigation surveillance / air traffic management (CNS/ATM) E-4B upgrade contract by the US Air Force (USAF).

The CNS/ATM upgrade will allow the E-4B crew the flexibility to operate efficiently in all environments and at a commercial airport or on an overseas mission.

The phase one upgrade includes next-generation flight-management hardware and software, as well as a multimode receiver radio that combines several aircraft systems into a single component.

The commercial off-the-shelf solution originally designed for the Boeing 737 airplanes will be adapted to support the E-4B, a modified Boeing 747-200.

The E-4B is a commercial derivative aircraft designed for use by the USAF National Command Authority, which serves as a survivable command post for control of US forces in all levels of conflict.

Boeing Global Transport & Executive Systems (GTES) will incorporate the phase-one upgrades, and the initial phase one aircraft will be flight tested in the fourth quarter of 2012.