NATO on Wednesday awarded a contract worth approximately $250 million to Boeing to install digital flight decks and avionics on 13 of the alliance’s AWACS aircrafts, which are based on the Boeing 707 commercial airplane, according a release.
The new technology ensures compliance with current and future air traffic control and navigation requirements, giving the aircraft broader access to airspace around the world.
Additionally, the upgrade will result in a cost savings in personnel because the flight deck crew will be reduced from four to three. It also solves the challenge of finding out-of-production avionics for the AWACS fleet by utilizing readily available commercial-off-the-shelf digital avionics. The modifications begin in 2016 and will be completed by 2018.
“Increasing airspace access means greater mission efficiency by saving time and fuel during operations,” said Jon Hunsberger, Boeing AWACS program manager, said in a release. “The improvements also provide the pilot and co-pilot user-friendly and customizable engine, navigation and radar data.”