Northrop to Upgrade E-3 AWACS for United Kingdom

by: Matthew Potter
November 15, 2010

Category: Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, England, Events, logistics, Military Aviation, northrop grumman, Northrop Grumman Corp., production program, Services | RSS 2.0

The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft developed originally for the U.S. Air Force is a modified Boeing (BA) 707 aircraft with an advanced Northrop Grumman (NOC) radar. The AWACS provide air based detection of aircraft and missiles as well as being able to perform air traffic control missions.

The AWACS has since entered use by American allies including NATO, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and France.

One of the advantages a company has with systems like this is that they are used for decades and require constant support and upgrades. Some of this may be done in house by the service operating them or in some cases has been done by contractors other then the original developer and producer. Northrop though maintains a contract with the Royal Air Force and Ministry of Defence to work on the radars of the U.K. aircraft.

As part of this they were just awarded a contract worth a little over $60 million to upgrade the IFF interrogator to support the Mode S transponder.

The Mode S is a new standard that allows the interrogation and identification of aircraft in controlled airspace. It replaces the current air traffic control radar beacon system (ATCRBS) used across the world today. Mode S is starting to be a requirement by several nations for flying in their airspace.

Since the AWACS aircraft are deployable across the globe this addition allows it to fly to where it is needed without having to plan a route around the nations with this requirement.

Photo from Obskurantist’s flickr photostream.

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