Tinker AWACS aircraft arrives at Boeing Seattle for major modification
by 552nd Air Control Wing
12/22/2014 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft belonging to the 552d Air Control Wing at Tinker arrived at Boeing Seattle on 22 Oct, 2014. This aircraft, designated as D-1, will be undergoing a major cockpit avionics modification in a development program known as DRAGON.
DRAGON stands for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation. And just as its name suggests, finding parts for the aging AWACS fleets, particularly on the flight deck, continues to be more and more difficult.
The DRAGON flight deck modernization replaces most analog indicators with modern digital multicolor graphical displays. In addition, nearly all of the 1970s avionics are being replaced with updated airspace-compliant subsystems. This modernization also allows for elimination of the navigator, dropping the crew size from four to three, as well as adding a Mode-5 Identification Friend or Foe capability.
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