"The pre-modification testing is meant to ensure the legacy systems, which will not be modified, are in proper working order before the modification," said Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4) Richard H. "Dickie" Waggoner, NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force Requirements Division.
The preparations are a joint evaluation with NAEW&C Progamme Management Agency (NAPMA) and the contractor. During this time, measurements will also be taken throughout the mission compartment to compare the pre-FLEP and post-FLEP noise levels for the mission crew.
A NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen member works on the pre-modification testing of the E-3A AWACS before being sent to Leonardo in Tessera, Italy.
NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen members work on the pre-modification testing of the E-3A AWACS in part of the Final Lifetime Expansion Programme.
"FLEP is meant to keep the NATO E-3A relevant and operational through its expected lifetime of 2035,"OF-4 Waggoner said. "While not all of the mission system will be replaced in FLEP, there are significant upgrades in the areas of mission computing, radios, and cryptography."
The hardware modification in the aircraft will begin in April 2022 and finish in March 2023. After completion, the aircraft will return to NATO Airbase GK to have the remainder of the equipment installed and undergo ground and flight testing. During ground and flight testing, the aircraft will be maintained and operated by Force personnel tasked to a NAPMA/Force Combined Test Team (CTT). The new CTT concept will challenge the ability to support Developmental Testing for this kind of modification.