Tinker Receives First Full-Rate Production E-3G AWACS

The 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker AFB, Okla., recently received the first full-rate production E-3G Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, according to a release. The move means Tinker’s 566th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron can now modify up to five or more aircraft a year with the Block 40/45 technology upgrades, which include better communications, computer processing power, threat tracking, and other capabilities. “It will allow us to retrofit the 552nd’s fleet as fast as money and schedules allows,” said E-3 Program Manager Thomas Ramsey. “The faster that we can get the capability out there, the better it is for the warfighter.” The Block 40/45 upgrade is the “most comprehensive” in the aircraft’s 38-year history, according to the release. It “provides solutions for the current systems’ operational and technological obsolescence, rapidly decreasing reliability, maintainability, supportability, and inability to integrate future technologies and growth opportunities,” said Don Gricol, AWACS triage team member. The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex also will upgrade AWACS through 2020, states the release.