The U.S. Air Force training and simulation experts have recommended upgrading flight simulators for Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircrafts in order to match the upgraded cockpit avionics to assist pilot training. A $38.8 million dollar contract has been announced by officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
The recipient is L-3 Communications Corp for an upgraded AWACS flight simulator. Part of the AWACS for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation (DRAGON) Flight Crew Training System (FCTS) program, the contract requires L-3 Link to provide one government-owned AWACS DRAGON FCTS. Aimed at upgrading the cockpits of E-3 Sentry AWACS aircrafts, the AWACS DRAGON program will replace the old analog avionics with five modern commercially available digital multicolor graphic displays in order to adequately provide the AWACS crew with navigation, customizable engine, and increased situational awareness data. It will also eliminate the need for an AWACS navigator position and reduce the crew size down to three from four.
Everything will stay the same. Other important avionics upgrades will include a weather radar, engine instruments and crew alert system. Officials anticipate the 24 updated E-3s to be ready by 2025. L-3 Link is expected to complete the work in Arlington, Texas and has estimated that they will be finished by June of 2020.
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