9/10/2008 - SEATTLE, WA -- The Boeing Company has
completed mission system flight testing for Block
40/45, the largest upgrade in the history of the U.S.
E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet.
During a 15-month period from April 2007 to July
2008, Boeing and the Air Force's Joint Test Force flew
missions aboard Test System 3, an AWACS test aircraft,
to complete the System Design and Development program.
"Test data indicate the Block 40/45 system meets or
exceeds all its key performance parameters and
technical performance requirements," said Stu Oliason,
40/45 System Design and Development program manager
"The success of this flight-test program is a tribute
to the hard work and dedication of hundreds of 40/45
employees. We're all very excited about bringing this
new capability to the warfighter," Oliason added.
Under the Block 40/45 program, the aircraft's legacy
mainframe computer has been replaced with an open
system architecture using network servers in a
user-friendly operating environment. The vastly
improved computing power helps automate what is
currently a manually intensive workload for the AWACS
A multisource integration capability automates the
process of detecting and identifying targets to
provide a single-target/single-track resolution.
Outgoing tasking messages are automatically
prioritized via a data link infrastructure. Features
are displayed to operators on the Primary AWACS
Display in a user-friendly, intuitive manner. The
numerous buttons and switches around the current
operator console have been replaced with
point-and-click simplicity and a display featuring
drop-down menus and rapid access to all required
information. This functionality shortens the time
required to execute either combat or search-and-rescue
The cumulative benefit of the Block 40/45 upgrade is
to increase overall mission effectiveness for AWACS
operators in the 21st-century battlespace, while
boosting the reliability of the mission system and
lowering life-cycle costs. The baseline capability is
designed to allow future upgrades.
The Air Force is expected to make a decision on the
next step -- a Block 40/45 production contract -- by
the end of this year.
Source: Boeing Press Release