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Boeing's $240 million Saudi AWACS contract

Posted 27 April 2018 · Add Comment

The US Department of Defense has announced the award of a $240 million contract for Boeing to modernise Saudi Arabia’s fleet of five E-3A Sentry airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft.

The sole-source fixed-price-incentive-firm foreign military sales (FMS) acquisition contract, announced on October 16 last year, was placed by the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) at Robins AFB, Georgia.
The Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF’s) pair of RE-3 signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft and eight KE-3A tankers are not included in the modernisation programme.
The E-3 Sentry is a modified Boeing 707 with a rotating radome (rotodome) above the fuselage. The aircraft is designed for all-altitude and all-weather real-time surveillance of the battlespace, providing airborne early warning, and target detection and tracking capabilities, with integrated command and control and battle management functions.
The aircraft is operational with the US Air Force, NATO, Britain, France and Saudi Arabia.
The RSAF E-3A AWACS aircraft serve with the 18th Squadron, part of the 6th Wing based at Prince Sultan Air Base, Al Kharj, which provides early warning of potential airborne threats to Saudi Arabia and also manages friendly airborne assets.
The E-3A upgrade will provide AWACS mission computing, navigation and communications upgrades, as well as the next generation in identification, friend or foe (IFF) system enhancements.
The work will be performed at Boeing’s Oklahoma City facility and should be completed by February 28 2019. It includes upgrades and modifications to legacy US Air Force platforms and export aircraft, including the Boeing E-3A AWACS, the Northrop B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and Rockwell B-1B Lancer strategic bombers.
The RSAF E-3As were originally purchased in 1983 and delivered in 1986-87. The aircraft have been regularly modernised and upgraded to maintain interoperability with US and coalition forces, with Boeing and Alsalam only completing the radar system improvement programme in May 2017. That programme included a new radar computer, a radar control maintenance panel, and new software and hardware.
 

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