Air Force orders AWACS flight simulators to help pilots train on upgraded cockpit avionics

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 1 Aug. 2016. U.S. Air Force simulation and training experts are upgrading flight simulators for the Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to match upgraded cockpit avionics.

Aug 1st, 2016
Air Force orders AWACS flight simulators to help pilots train on upgraded cockpit avionics
Air Force orders AWACS flight simulators to help pilots train on upgraded cockpit avionics
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 1 Aug. 2016. U.S. Air Force simulation and training experts are upgrading flight simulators for the Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to match upgraded cockpit avionics.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $38.3 million contract to the L-3 Communications Corp. Link Simulation and Training Division in Arlington, Texas, for an upgraded AWACS flight simulator.

The contract is part of the AWACS for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation (DRAGON) Flight Crew Training System (FCTS) program. L-3 Link will provide one government-owned AWACS DRAGON FCTS.

The AWACS DRAGON program is upgrading the cockpits of their E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft by replacing old analog avionics with five modern commercially available digital multicolor graphic displays to provide the AWACS crew with customizable engine, navigation, and situational awareness data.

The project also is eliminating the AWACS navigator position to reduce crew size from four to three, and is adding a Mode-5 identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) capability, digital satellite-based communications. The AWACS engines, airframe, and mission systems will remain the same.

Related: Boeing to continue process of upgrading electronics in four Japan AWACS surveillance aircraft

Other AWACS avionics upgrades involved in the AWACS DRAGON project include weather radar; an engine instrument and crew alert system to provide warnings, cautions and advisories; enhanced ground proximity warning; and a digital cockpit audio distribution system.

The AWACS DRAGON modernization will enable U.S. and NATO AWACS aircraft to meet international requirements for aircraft navigation, and give the planes broader access to air space.

Air Force officials expect to have 24 updated E-3s by 2025. The L-3 Link flight simulator will enable AWACS flight crews to train on the upgraded AWACS flight systems.

On this contract L-3 Link will do the work in Arlington, Texas, and should be finished by June 2020. For more information contact L-3 Link Simulation and Training online at www.link.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.

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