AS A RESULT of the decreasing world threat, the USAF has cut back overseas deployment of its 552nd ACW Boeing E-3B/C Sentries at forward operating bases. The single Sentry of the 960th ACS at Keflavik, Iceland and one of the three stationed with the 961st ACS at Okinawa, Japan, will return to the USA and join one of the 552nd’s four squadrons at Tinker AFB, Oklahomo. Approximately 234 personnel will also return home.
A long-awaited contract to upgrade NATOs fleet of 17 E-3A Sentries is finally expected to be awarded in May to Boeing Defense and Space Group. The first production standard upgraded computer system has already been delivered. The IBM CC2E increases the AWACS system memory by 380% and is considered vital to the remainder of the upgrade. All 17 E-3As will have been fitted with the system by the end of the year.
An electronic support measures (ESM) system developed by UTL of Dallas, Texas is the largest element of the proposed upgrade. Integration and development of the ESM into NATO and USAF aircraft is already covered by a 5241.5 million contract awarded in May 1987. Other major elements of the upgrade include communications, display and navigation equipment. A 5294.6 million contract with Boeing also covers Have Quick secure UHF communications, Link 61 Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) and coloured displays. An agreement has already been reached with DASA to carry out the upgrade work at its Manching facility between late 1995 and the end of 1997.