French air force taps Boeing for navigational upgrade to AWACS aircraft

FEBRUARY 26, 14:03 EST

PARIS -- Leaders of the French air force are looking to the Boeing Co. in Seattle to install a global positioning inertial navigation system (GINS) capability into the mission system and flight deck of their four E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

Boeing won a $25.5 million contract worth to install the equipment aboard the French AWACS aircraft, Boeing officials announced Feb. 26. Boeing engineers also will upgrade the aircraft's altitude measurement system to meet European Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) system requirements for reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM).

GINS improves the aircraft's positioning accuracy and reliability, while RVSM enables the E-3 to operate in areas where the air traffic control vertical separation requirements have been reduced to handle increased air traffic, Boeing officials say.

Engineers from Air France Industries will modify the aircraft under subcontract to Boeing at the Air France facility in Le Bourget, France. Work begins in July 2001 and will be completed in October 2002, Boeing officials say.

France contracted with Boeing to buy four E-3 AWACS aircraft in 1987. They were delivered between 1991 and 1992. AWACS conducts airborne surveillance and command and control functions for tactical and air defense forces.

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