First AWACS Enters Block 40/45 Upgrade

The first Air Force E-3 Sentry slated for upgrade to the Block 40/45 standard last week ceremoniously entered Oklahoma City’s Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB, Okla. Technicians will install the new Block 40/45 equipment there during the aircraft’s programmed depot maintenance. Modifications to this aircraft are scheduled for completion by September 2011. This is the first of six AWACS platforms due for the upgrade by 2014 during the Block 40/45 program’s low-rate initial production phase. “This modification replaces a mission computer system originally installed in the 1970s,” said Maj. Brett Johnson, Block 40/45 production chief. USAF plans to have the entire 33-aircraft E-3 fleet upgraded and fully operational by 2020. The new computer equipment will improve information sharing, target tracking and identification, and integration of sensory inputs both on and off the aircraft. Boeing is the Block 40/45 prime contractor. (Hanscom report by Patty Welsh)