The first NATO NE-3 Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) has begun the “final lifetime extension” program at Boeing.
A Boeing-led trans-Atlantic industry team will provide modifications that will allow AWACS to remain airborne until its successor, a platform to be procured under the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC), enters service by 2035.
Boeing will be responsible for improving the system capability, interoperability and availability of the current AWACS fleet, until the arrival of AFSC. The company is also one of three contenders competing for the AFSC contract.
“This upgrade program to NATO’s fleet of 14 AWACS aircraft will ensure NATO has the airborne early warning and control capability required to help defend NATO for years to come,” said Russell Howard, Boeing AWACS program director. “The AWACS has been integral in keeping our European allies safe from modern and evolving threats for more than 40 years.”
Boeing says it has partnered with over 16 European leaders in the aviation sector to deliver the AWACS upgrades. The companies involved include Leonardo, Indra, Airbus, Thales, Jacobs and Kongsberg.
The Boeing-led program is expected to deliver the final modified and modernized aircraft in the first quarter of 2027.
“We are committed to supporting NATO’s critical capabilities of surveillance, communication and battle management for control of any airspace through 2035 and beyond,” said Kim Stollar, Boeing managing director.
“The final lifetime extension program is a great example of our continued support of the alliance’s smooth transition from the AWACS into the AFSC capability.”