|Boeing Improved NATO AWACS Aircraft Passes European Airspace Test|
Boeing Improved NATO AWACS Aircraft Passes European Airspace Tests
Saint-Louis, Missouri -- (Boeing) October 24, 2002 -- The first NATO AWACS aircraft, upgraded by The Boeing Company [NYSE:BA] under the Mid-term Modernization Program, has successfully completed initial European engineering tests and evaluation.
NATO operators and Boeing Integrated Defense System crews worked together to complete flight and ground testing in Europe over a two-week period in September and October. These were the first tests of the aircraft's enhancements in its home environment. The next phase of testing is scheduled for November in Europe. The Mid-term Modernization Program features integration of state-of-the-art enhancements to NATO's fleet of 17 AWACS aircraft including: computers, displays, communications, navigation and target identification systems. The effort is an important element of Boeing's vision for an integrated battlespace.
"We had already tested the aircraft's functionality in the U.S. and knew it worked. But we needed to find out how well the system worked in Europe," said Steve Behnen, Boeing NATO AWACS program manager.
European airspace conditions are much different than in the U.S. because population centers and air traffic are much denser, creating a lot of electronic interference. "The testing in the more challenging European environment went quite well, exceeding our expectations," Behnen said.
Pep Fraser, the NATO AWACS chief of the implementation division, said, "I am pleased with the technical progress that was demonstrated during the recently conducted European engineering test and evaluation. This is a key milestone on the path to the successful completion of this important NATO programme."
The continuation of this development and testing process will eventually lead to a NATO initial operational test and evaluation program in 2003. During that time NATO AWACS crews will control the aircraft and test its various systems.
Retrofit of the entire fleet will commence following successful completion of Initial Operational Test & Evaluation and approval by the NATO airborne early warning & control nations.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrate Defense Systems is a $23 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-base communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.