|A French AWACS aircraft patrols the skies as part of a routine mission. The French AWACS fleet is in the midst of the Mid-Life Upgrade that modernizes the capabilities on board. Photo: Boeing|
[Avionics Today 05-22-2015] Boeing has achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of the modernized French Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet with delivery of the second of four upgraded aircraft and completion of the operational tests and evaluations. The upgrade is part of a foreign military sale between the French Defense Procurement and Technology Agency (Direction générale de l'armement – DGA) and the United States government.
“With the declaration of IOC, the French Air Force is able to utilize the new capabilities of the Mid-life Upgrade to protect our national and international interests. This improvement will contribute to maintaining high operational performance and reinforce interoperability capability for at least the next twenty years,” said French Air Force AWACS Program Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Duplessy.
France has four AWACS to monitor national airspace, national interests and support allied missions. The aircraft are receiving modifications through a Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) to increase the fleet’s surveillance, communications and battle management capabilities. The first MLU AWACS was delivered in July of 2014. The AWACS upgrade aims to lessen workload for crewmembers as well as allow them to receive more actionable information and have better situational awareness.