NATO E-3 upgrade programme complete

The fourteen remaining Boeing E-3A Sentry aircraft operating with the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force have now completed the CNS/ATM modification.

Boeing announced on December 18, 2018, it had delivered the inal upgraded E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) back to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The aircraft was the 14th NATO E-3A to be upgraded by Boeing and itted with a digital light deck and modernised avionics systems.

The upgrades include ive fullcolour digital displays, which will ensure compliance with current and future air traic control and navigation requirements, as well as allowing NATO to consolidate crew responsibilities during each mission.

The irst aircraft was upgraded by Boeing in Seattle and delivered back to NATO in November 2016. Work on the remaining 13 aircraft was undertaken by Boeing at Manching, Germany.

Brigadier General Mike Hain, General Manager for the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Programme Management Agency, said: “The Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traic Management modernisation project enables the NATO E-3A leet to meet current and foreseen European air traic management requirements.”

All 14 upgraded aircraft are operated by the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force (NAEWF), based at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany, but are registered in Luxembourg. The NAEWF was formed in 1982 and was NATO’s irst integrated multi-national lying unit.

NATO acquired 18 E-3As but one was lost in a runway overrun accident after a rejected take of at Préveza-Aktion Airport, Greece in 1996. Two further two aircraft are stored at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group and a third, serial number LX-N90458, was due to arrive for storage at the end of 2018. Nigel Pittaway