The Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) to the mission systems of France's fleet of AWACS aircraft is crucial for optimizing the planes' mission systems and interoperability. Technologically, this is state-of-the-art, delivered thanks to the expertise of AFI KLM E&M teams in partnership with Boeing.
At the end of June, AFI KLM E&M and Boeing delivered to the French Defense procurement Agency (DGA) the fourth and last French Air Force AWACS aircraft, which had been in for its Mid-Life Upgrade to its mission systems to Block 40/45 level as defined by Boeing for the US Air Force. As a sub-contractor of the US airframer and prime contractor, the Group is thus directly contributing to maintaining AWACS data processing capabilities at the highest state of operational readiness and interoperability.
Upgraded computer systems
The upgrade is a major one as it involves replacing all the on-board computer systems with latest-generation equipment: new servers, new consoles, an Ethernet network and optical fibre. This is being combined with an upgrade to the aircraft's structural systems to support the new, heavier hardware. "Thanks to our people's AWACS product expertise, to the production staff at Aircraft Maintenance & Modifications, and those at the Structures department, we have been able to take up this challenge hands down, to the agreed deadline and in compliance with the US authorities' Quality procedures," emphasized Bernard Moret, MLU project leader for AFI KLM E&M.
Military product expertise
With these upgrades, successively carried out between May 2013 and June 2016, AFI KLM E&M has once again demonstrated its know-how and skills on this military product. “The USAF auditors, who paid regular site visits to ensure compliance with the program's stringent Quality procedures, were always satisfied with our working methods. This is the fourth major modification project we have carried out in conjunction with Boeing. The program's successful completion also owes a great deal to the quality of our relationship with Boeing, which regularly renews its trust in us for these cutting-edge programs."