With the delivery of the second aircraft, the French Armée de l’Air has reached Initial operating capability (IOC) of its upgraded Boeing E-3F AWACS aircraft. Operational tests and evaluations are complete, said Boeing on 20 May. The upgrade is part of a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) between the French Defense Procurement and Technology Agency (Direction générale de l’armement – DGA) and the US government.
In July 2014, the French received their first upgraded E-3 back from Boeing. As the prime contractor, Boeing provides hardware, software, engineering and quality assurance support. Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, a Boeing subcontractor on the project, is upgrading the electrical, mechanical and structural systems and mission hardware on the aircraft.
France has four AWACS to monitor national airspace, national interests, and support allied missions. The aircraft are receiving modifications through a Mid-life Upgrade (MLU) to increase the fleet’s surveillance, communications and battle management capabilities. AWACS crew members will experience reduced workload, receive more actionable information and have better situational awareness thanks to these enhancements.
Featured image: A French AWACS (Image © Boeing)