Boeing, along with Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M), has completed the mid-life upgrade modification of the first of four French Air Force’s E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
The modification is the result of a foreign military sale in 2010 between France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) and the US Government.
AFI KLM E&M, a subcontractor of Boeing, began upgrading the electrical, mechanical and structural systems, in addition to mission hardware upgrades, on the aircraft in June 2013.
The aircraft will undergo ground and flight tests at Avord Air Base, before being delivered to the air force, once qualified by the DGA.
The mid life upgrade will provide a clear picture of the battle space and more actionable information to the aircraft, which will reduce aircrew workload, according to Boeing.
The other three AWACS aircraft will be upgraded in a newly owned facility of AFI KLM E&M at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, while the first AWACS aircraft has been housed at the AFI KLM E&M site at Le Bourget Airport near Paris.
Boeing France president Yves Galland said, "The success of this upgrade rests in the outstanding cooperation between Boeing and Air France Industries."
Boeing’s French AWACS program manager Steve Swanz said the mid-life upgrade capability of airborne surveillance, command and control platform is unrivaled.
"The excellent relationship between the French Government, US Government and Boeing French AWACS teams has enabled completion of this modification milestone, and the outstanding performance by AFI KLM E&M and our Boeing in-country team exemplifies our commitment to excellence in product and relationships," Swanz said.
Image: French Air Force’s first modified E-3FAWACS aircraft given a water cannon salute at Le Bourget Airport in France. Photo: courtesy of AFI KLM E&M.