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NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO) JET AIRPLANE OPERATOR.
BELGIUM (KINGDOM OF BELGIUM), WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1830, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 30,519 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 10.1 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS BRUSSELS, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ARE FLEMISH AND FRENCH.
JUNE 1995: NATO (NAT) ASKED SABENA (SAB) (WHO PROVIDES ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE) TO PROVIDE A FEASIBILITY STUDY ON THE POSSIBILITY OF OPERATING THEIR 3 707 AIRPLANES UNTIL THE YEAR 2020.
JULY 1997: SABENA (SAB) TO EVALUATE MAINTENANCE COSTS & MODIFICATIONS, FOR +4 707-307C'S (1997 - 2000), EX-GERMAN AIRFORCE (GRF), OPERATED UNTIL 2020.
JANUARY 1998: TO PHASE OUT 2 OF 3 707'S, AS THEY APPROACH 20,000 CYCLES, MANDATORY AGING FLEET, MODIFICATION SCHEDULE. WILL REPLACE WITH 2 RECENTLY PURCHASED 707-300'S, EX-GERNAB AIRFORCE (GRF), DUE MAY 1999, AFTER AVIONICS, (APU), REFUELING SYSTEM MODIFICATIONS.
January 2003: Boeing (TBC) is working with the US Air Force (USF) to show how network-centric computer tools can streamline airborne battle management, using E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) airplanes as a test platform.
The intent, according to (TBC) (AWACS) Development Manager, Kevin Jones, is to help the Air Force (USF) prioritize its investment in net-centric technology. The two-year, (TBC)-funded Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CREDA) is not, however, part of the airplane’s current Block 40/45 upgrade.
“What this does is give us the ability to look at the problem of net-centric warfare and quantify the specific military benefits,” Jones said. “A lot of it has to do with basic infrastructure, like quality of service and level of connectivity. We have to determine the nature and quantity of the data we want to move and how fast it has to travel to support the mission.”
(AWACS)-based research has centered on the replacement of voice communications with digital relays, in a bid to speed up time-sensitive targeting. In addition, operator displays are being enhanced with data from sources besides the airplane’s onboard radar. The package includes “decision aids,” such as color-coded symbols denoting target status as it evolves in combat.
One likely scenario involves a potential enemy target broadcasting radar signals — known in the early warning business as an “emitter.” An airplane with a passive (ISR) system locates the site and conveys the information to the Coalition Air Operations Center (CAOC) on the ground. The (CAOC) requests more information and adds the target to a list. Can Special Operations Forces or space-based (ISR) assets identify it?
(AWACS) operators watch the scenario develop, while the target moves higher on the list. Using the new net-centric tools, they match airborne strike assets with the target. If a formation of F-15E strike airplanes was on call, for example, the (AWACS) could verify their fuel status and arrange midair refueling, if needed.
“Using forward-based radar sensors to extend (AWACS) visibility, gives us much earlier target identification and faster reaction time,” Jones said.
Software and other features proven during the (CREDA), if developed, could reach the (AWACS) fleet by 2013, according to Boeing (TBC).
Another candidate for the net-centric treatment could be the Boeing P-8A, a 737-derived airplane slated to be the US Navy (USN)’s next antisubmarine warfare/(ISR) airplanes.
“For now, we’re focused on supporting the (AWACS) modernization roadmap, of which the network is key,” Jones said. “It shortens the kill chain and increases bombs on target.”
Based on the Boeing 707 airliner, the E-3A (USE) is in its fourth decade with the Air Force (USF), which operates 33 of the type. (NATO) has 17 (AWACS) airplanes in service, while Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF)has seven. Saudi Arabia and France fly five and four, respectively.
Block 40/45 — the most recent (AWACS) upgrade — incorporates numerous enhancements, including replacement of 1970s-vintage mainframe computers and displays with modern devices.
August 2008: The USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight-test program for the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) (JT8D-219) 707 re-engineing program is underway at Mojave, California, USA. The engine is being used to re-engine the US Airforce (USF)'s Boeing E-8C JSTARS and NATO (NAT) E-3 AWACS surveillance airplane derivatives of the 707. The (JT98D-219)s will be provided on an operational lease basis by (P&W). The upgrade will provide up to 22% fuel burn reduction and a take-off noise reduction of 40dB over the existing (P&W) (TF33)/(JT3D) engines. The program was developed with the help of Dublin-based 707 operator Omega Air (OMG) and its San Antonio, Texas subsidiary, Seven-Q-Seven. SEE ATTACHED PHOTO AND ARTICLE - - "NAT-707-AUG08."
March 2012: (TNT) Airways (TNB) will operate its first ex-Air Finland (AFZ) 757-28ASF (25622, OO-TFA - SEE PHOTO - - "NAT-757-28ASF - 2012-03) on behalf of (NATO) (based at Geilenkirchen airport (GKE)) in a combi configuration with a passenger and cargo section on the airplane.
October 2013: (TAP) (M&E) has been awarded an eight-year contract to provide landing gear repair and overhaul services for the (NATO) (NAT) E-3A (AWACS). The first ship-set will be serviced before the end of 2013.
Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer (RMB) has awarded Thales (THL) a contract to supply Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders for the upgrade of A1M fighters and E-99 (AEW) surveillance airplanes in service with the Brazilian Air Force (BRF). A total of 48 airplanes will be retrofitted with the new (IFF) transponders.
Thales (THL)will supply its TSC 2030 and TSC 2050 transponders, which are part of the company’s BlueGate range of (IFF) products and provide a digital identification capability in line with (NATO)’s (MKXA) standard. The airplanes equipped with the new (IFF) systems will be fully interoperable to overcome risks of friendly fire.
“This (IFF) retrofit program for the Brazilian Air Force (BRF) shows that Thales (THL)’s BlueGate (IFF) solutions are an excellent fit for upgrading existing airplanes,” said Jean-Michel Lagarde, (CEO) of Thales Communications & Security.
The panel mounted TSC 2030 transponders and the remote 2050 transponders rely on the latest technologies and meet all the most recent standards and regulations defined by (NATO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). They are designed to operate either in national secure cryptographic mode or in the secure identification modes used by (NATO) forces (Modes 4 and 5).
August 2014: Boeing (TBC) has received a contract from (NATO) (NAT) worth approximately $250 million to install digital flight decks and avionics on 13 of (NAT)’s Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) airplanes, which are based on the Boeing 707 commercial airplane.
The new technology ensures compliance with current and future air traffic control (ATC) and navigation requirements, giving the airplanes broader access to airspace around the world. “Increasing airspace access means greater mission efficiency by saving time and fuel during operations,” said Jon Hunsberger, Boeing (AWACS) Modernize (NATO) (AWACS) Fleet Program Manager. “The improvements also provide the pilot (FC) and co-pilot (FC) user-friendly and customizable engine, navigation and radar data.”
Additionally, the upgrade will result in a cost savings in personnel because the flight deck crew will be reduced from four to three. It also solves the challenge of finding out-of-production avionics for the (AWACS) fleet by utilizing readily available commercial-off-the-shelf digital avionics. The modifications begin in 2016 and will be completed by 2018.
Under an earlier Engineering Manufacturing & Development (EMD) contract, Boeing (TBC) installed a new digital flight deck and avionics on one (NATO) (AWACS). Flight testing begins in the fourth quarter of this year with delivery scheduled for December 2015. As part of the (EMD) contract, Boeing (TBC) also will upgrade the flight deck and avionics of a USA (AWACS) airplane beginning this November.
November 2014: ThalesRaytheonSystems (THL)/(RAY) has completed system testing for the National Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Air Command and Control System (ACCS) program. The tests demonstrated the system’s ability to operate in a network configuration, linking the pilot sites at Lyon Mont Verdun in France, Glons in Belgium, Uedem in Germany and Poggio Renatico in Italy.
During the tests, the system handled a daily number of military air movements several times higher than for any operations conducted up to now, proving its ability to interconnect (NATO) and National Air Command and Control (AirC2) units across four European nations into a single integrated (AirC2) system.