HomeNewsArticle Display

Warfighters reap benefits as critical upgrades continue

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- The AWACS 40/45 program office is delivering, and potentially accelerating, critical upgrades to the service's primary platform.

Replacing the mission computing system and software originally installed in the 1970s, the new capability will enhance tracking and combat identification capabilities in addition to providing operators with a better picture of the battlespace, said 1st Lt. Evan Porter, Block 40/45 production lead.

"The 40/45 capabilities put AWACS at the forefront, especially in theater," he said.

Following the delivery of six aircraft with the modifications to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker AFB, Okla., the Air Combat Command commander declared initial operational capability in July. The program is now in full rate production with three additional aircraft in the modification process, one of which inducted early. The next aircraft is slated to begin modifications in December.

According to program officials, the team has worked aggressively to overcome multiple challenges to achieve these program successes and continues to look for ways to overcome additional challenges brought on by budget uncertainty.

"The Block 40/45 program office continues to execute the program successfully by continually assessing budget and aggressively pursuing innovative should-cost savings initiatives, using appropriate contracts to save additional cost and schedule," said Lt. Col. Frank Gaillard, the E-3 Net-centric Capabilities materiel leader and Block 40/45 program manager.

Another initiative implemented throughout the course of the program is kit installations during programmed depot maintenance.

Personnel from the 566th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Tinker said that installing the modification concurrently with PDM reduces up to eight months of aircraft downtime and allows for maximum aircraft availability.

The squadron was able to sequence their workload so all tasks could be performed on time.

"We started our first low-rate production concurrent PDM/mod at the depot in November 2010," said Jeff Base, the E3/Services Weapons System Support Center Flight chief. "Through process improvements and reducing the learning curve, the modification has realized a 48 percent reduction in hours."

Base also emphasized that advanced planning and stakeholder involvement were critical.

The upgrade provides multi-sensor integration onboard the aircraft, improves data link infrastructure, increases machine-to-machine interaction and compresses the targeting chain timeline.

Users are already seeing advantages.

"The 40/45 upgrade's human-machine interface allows a greater ability for the AWACS to concentrate on bringing order and command decisions to the battlespace," said Capt. James Capra, the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron director of operations. "With the upgraded ease of obtaining command and control data, the enhanced focus allows greater war management and will lead to ensuring the JFACC's (Joint Force Air Component Commander) risk level is assured during operations."

One user, a surveillance officer on the E-3, sees the advantage for her role.

"The software is more user-friendly than before and allows operators to focus on executing the mission," said Maj. Amy Chaplin, the 552nd Training Squadron assistant director of operations.

Many players have worked to get this program to this point. According to program officials here, it's been a total team effort.

The overall team included personnel from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center 's AWACS Division at Hanscom AFB and Tinker AFB, the Air Logistics Center and the 566th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, as part of the Air Force Sustainment Center, both part of Air Force Materiel Command, and the 552nd Air Control Wing from ACC.

"This is truly fantastic collaboration across multiple commands, stakeholders and organizations," said Gaillard. "We are absolutely committed to upgrading the fleet for the warfighter, en route to achieving full operational capability."

FOC is anticipated by fiscal year 2020.

Engage

Twitter
#DYK The F-16A, a single-seat model, first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered in Janu… https://t.co/B72dKcCrnr
Twitter
#DYK The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sept. 15, 1991, and the first production model was delivered to Charleston… https://t.co/edfO5R1YEm
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: To the @PACAF Total Force #Airmen, thank you for your dedication to the mission and your spirit to serve. https://t.co…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: I have no doubt @PACAF will continue to grow & prosper under the steady & focused leadership of the #USAF’s newest 4-s…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: For the past 2 yrs, PACAF has transformed under Gen. Brown’s leadership with a new joint mission to deter aggression i…
Twitter
This technology keeps Airmen out of harm’s way when diffusing a bomb. One of the best opportunities to check out &… https://t.co/jWkN0Vbv6c
Twitter
RT @PACAF: Join us live July 8th, as Gen. CQ Brown Jr. relinquishes command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces to Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach. To vie…
Twitter
RT @PACAF: "Two years ago when I assumed command of Pacific Air Forces I told you that I was honored, blessed and proud. Today, I am simply…
Twitter
The Dept. of the Air Force has stood up a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in support of both the Air Force and t… https://t.co/XS2kv8pJg6
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Joint force training is the best training💪 Airmen and Soldiers routinely work together to strengthen interoperability in…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Just arrived at @EielsonAirForce Base to discuss Team Eielson's critical role in projecting @USAirForce #AirPower with t…
Twitter
Air Force surgeon general addressed #COVID19, innovation & leadership during a recent visit to Dover AFB.… https://t.co/qSpY2izHeE
Twitter
#DYK Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center serves as the single intermediate-level headquarters respons… https://t.co/dLlxQW4yFz
Twitter
I AM THE MISSION @USAFCENT Airmen discuss their missions with the MQ-9 Reaper and how they work together while dep… https://t.co/AbJupnj7o5
Twitter
Check out the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center's new mission! @HQ_AFMC #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/fRTJUKp1eb
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Col. Geoffrey Jensen, the @173rdFW's Operations Group commander, pilots an F-15 Eagle over Kingsley Field in Klamath Fall…
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: From the Arctic to Africa, the Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing are always ready! #ReadyAF https://t.co/StKBRCTkkT
Twitter
Help make the Department of the Air Force the best place for civilians to work by voicing your opinions via the upc… https://t.co/oUOpAWD59W
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,250,309
Follow Us