NATO receives first glass cockpit
The first E-3A aircraft with a newly upgraded glass cockpit is now a reality: at 0933 hours tail number 459 landed safely at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen on November 17, 2016. This aircraft has been at Boeing Field Seattle, Washington, USA since August 1, 2013 for modification.
The Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) trained flight deck crew experienced a perfect flight while using the digital cockpit instruments for the first time ever in the history of NATO AWACS. Upon landing, the aircraft taxied through a water arch performed by two trucks of the Fire Department and parked in front of Hangar 1 where this historic event was formally celebrated by Major General Dawn Dunlop, Commander NAEW&C Force:
"Today, we mark an incredibly important milestone for the Force and for E-3 fleets around the globe by welcoming the first glass cockpit, or CNS/ATM aircraft, into the NATO AWACS Fleet. After three years and four months of modification and 56 test flights to verify the operational performance of the new configuration we welcome the first CNS/ATM and its crew back home to Geilenkirchen after a safe and uneventful 10.2 hour trans- Atlantic flight. My thanks to the operators, the maintainers, and the program managers who have dedicated their talent and expertise to making this day a success!"
Also known as the 'N-1 Project', CNS/ATM is another success in the NAEW&C Force's history, several organizations, agencies, and military units were involved in supporting and planning the development, testing and finally delivering a new flight deck for NATO's most legendary surveillance and battle management aircraft.