Saudi Arabia to upgrade E-3 fleet

The US Department of Defense announced on October 16 that Boeing had been awarded a $240 million fixed price contract to upgrade the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleet of E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

Under Phase 1 of the RSAF’s AWACS modernisation plan, Boeing will upgrade the E-3’s mission computing, navigation and communications systems and will also integrate a next generation identification friend or foe system.

The work will be carried out at Boeing’s facility in Oklahoma City, adjacent to Tinker Air Force Base, and is expected to be completed by the end of February 2019.

Boeing has previously completed a Radar System Improvement Program to the RSAF Sentry fleet, which improved radar capability and sensitivity and extended the tracking range.

Comprised of a new radar computer, radar control maintenance panel and electrical and mechanical software and hardware, the upgrades bring the Saudi aircraft into line with US, UK, NATO and French AWACS fleets.

The RSAF currently operates five E-3A aircraft, based at the Prince Sultan Air Base, Al Kharj with 18 Squadron. The aircraft were delivered between June 1986 and September 1987.