Flight-test activities on the first of four Boeing E-3F Sentry airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft operated by the French air force will commence shortly, following the end of mid-life upgrade work on the jet.
Performed by Boeing and subcontractor Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, the enhancement included improvements to the aircraft's electrical, mechanical and structural components, alongside its mission hardware.
Work commenced in June 2013 and the first aircraft will now be transferred to Avord air base in the centre of the country to perform flight tests. Delivery to the air force will take place later this year, says Boeing, following qualification by France's DGA procurement agency.
The mid-life upgrade for the French E-3Fs is modelled on the Block 40/45 contract developed for the US Air Force's AWACS fleet.
Modifications on the initial aircraft were performed at AFI KLM E&M's site at Le Bourget near Paris, but work on the subsequent three examples will move to a new facility at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.