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Boeing gets $397.9M for Saudi AWACS upgrade program

Boeing file photo of a Royal Saudi Air Force AWACS

The Royal Saudi Air Force Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet is set to undergo a modernization program under a contract announced by the Pentagon on December 15.

According to the announcement, Boeing will be getting $397.9 million to deliver what was referred to as the phase 2 of the Saudi AWACS modernization program.

This will include work on keeping the Saudi airframes interoperable with the US Air Force AWACS, which are currently being upgraded to the Block 40/45 standard. This upgrade replaces 1970 vintage mission computing and displays with an open system and commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software.

The work that will be undertaken on the Saudi AWACS in Oklahoma, and Al Kharj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will also be aimed at keeping the aircraft functionally viable through their expected end of life in 2040.

Boeing delivered five AWACS aircraft to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. The upgrade work is expected to be completed by February 2026, the contract announcement said.

Boeing will be responsible for the upgrades after completing the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) for the Saudi fleet in 2017. That series of upgrades enhanced the technological capabilities the aircraft, improving their radar capabilities and reducing repair time. The upgrades comprised a new radar computer, a radar control maintenance panel and electrical and mechanical software and hardware.