NATO E-3A Component pilot tests modified AWACS for the first time

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A NATO E-3A Component pilot recently had the opportunity to conduct a test flight on the new modified E-3A airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft. The test flight on the new modified aircraft, also known as the N-1, took place at the Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.

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On 29 April, Lt.Col. Max Desmetz was the first pilot from the E-3A Component to conduct a test flight with the modified E-3A AWACS, also known as N-1 – Photo courtesy of NATO E-3A Component Public Affairs Office
German pilot, Lt. Col Max Desmetz spent just over 5 hours flying the modified aircraft. “I was very excited to fly the N-1 after being in the modification program since 2012. The flight was very successful and it was a great experience for me together with the Boeing crew. I’m definitely looking forward to the next flight, which probably will take place upcoming week,” said Desmetz.

The modification to the entire fleet of 14 E-3A’s includes a glass cockpit and other advanced avionics. The modernisation programme will ensure compliance with current requirements and will provide the fundamentals for future air traffic control and navigation conditions as well as giving the aircraft broader access to airspace around the world. It will also solve the challenge of finding out-of-production avionics for the fleet by utilising available commercial-off-the-shelf digital avionics. Furthermore, the upgrade will reduce the cockpit crew to two pilots and a flight engineer, currently the E-3A requires 4 flight crew members, aircraft commander, first pilot, flight engineer and navigator.

The modification programme is set to be completed in 2018.
Source: NATO

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