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The French Air Force has partnered up with prolific KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KL E&M) to update their current fleet of four Boeing E-3F fleet. The French added E-3Fs Boeing aircrafts to their fleet in the year 1992 and wish to modernize them to be able to lengthen the longevity of these aircrafts. By replacing the airborne warning and control system (AWACS) which they hope to last to the year 2035. The full renovation will consist of renovating their analogue cockpit brand new digital flight deck. This newly innovate flight deck has been equipped with five full-colour multifunctional displays. Along with the innovative integration it will also include an autopilot capability for CFM International CFM56 powered type engines.
The newly equipped will allow for the Air force to reduce their crew by one person due to the advancements in technology. KLM has agreed to begin their upgrades in the year 2019 and to continue to the year 2022. One of the many pros of this operation will be the removal of obsolete parts that can be currently found in the E-3F aircrafts reducing the amount of maintance that the aircraft will require. According to the DGA (the Defense procurement agency) there will be more maintance checks that come with the upgrade causing less down time for the airframes
The contract between the French air force and KLM includes seven complete years of maintance and repairs.
A renovation of this size is nothing new for the French. They have previously worked with Boeing to be able to update their fleet of E- 3Fs previous times. In the renovation of the aircrafts there has been the replacement of their “onboard mission computers and operator stations.”
The Air forces main priority for these latest innovations are to increase their aircrafts reliability and decrease their maintance costs.
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