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May 21, 2015

Upgraded French AWACS fleet achieves initial operating capability

Boeing has achieved initial operating capability (IOC) of the modernised French Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet.

By Samseer M

french awacs aircraft

Boeing has achieved initial operating capability (IOC) of the modernised French Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet.

The new development occurred alongside the delivery of the second of four upgraded aircraft and completion of the operational tests and evaluations.

The upgrade is in conjunction with a foreign military sale between the French Defense Procurement and Technology Agency and the US.

France currently operates four AWACS to monitor national airspace, national interests, and support allied missions.

French Air Force AWACS programme officer lieutenant-colonel Olivier Duplessy said: "With the declaration of IOC, the French Air Force is able to utilise the new capabilities of the Mid-life Upgrade to protect our national and international interests.

"The upgrade is in conjunction with a foreign military sale between the French Defense Procurement and Technology Agency and the US."

"This improvement will contribute to maintaining high operational performance and reinforce interoperability capability for at least the next twenty years."

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The French aircraft are securing renovation through a Mid-life Upgrade (MLU), which will enhance the fleet’s surveillance, communications and battle management capacities.

Boeing’s subcontractor, Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, is renovating the electrical, mechanical and structural systems and mission hardware on the aircraft.

For the project, Boeing offers hardware, software, engineering and quality assurance support.

Boeing France president Yves Galland said: "We’re looking forward to pursue our successful partnership with Air France Industries to deliver the last two aircraft on time and meet the French Air Force requirements on this strategic programme."

With this upgrade, AWACS crew members will benefit from less workload, more actionable information and better situational awareness.

Image: A French AWACS aircraft patrols the skies as part of a routine mission. Photo: courtesy of Boeing photo.

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