Rival European, Israeli and US airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) suppliers are considering a range of improvements to sensors and platforms ahead of the next round of competitions kicking off in South Korea and Spain.

Boeing is looking to build on the success of its 737 AEW&C system in Australia and Turkey with an on going research and development programme. "We're looking at what's out there that can be integrated on to the aircraft and whether there are interference issues. We're looking to make the aircraft more than just an AEW aircraft," says Patrick Gill, Boeing 737 AEW&C vice-president.

Among the additional sensors being studied for the 737 AEW&C is a nose mounted multi-mode radar, a ground moving target indicator, battle management, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, an infrared search-and-track, improved electronic support measures and additional communications.

After the loss of the Australian Wedgetail and Turkish competitions, Israel Aircraft Industries' (IAI) teaming with Raytheon using the Airbus A310 platform has dissolved. IAI has repackaged its Elta Phalcon phased array radar into the Ilyushin Il-76 and smaller Gulfstream G550, and is believed to be close to sales to India and Singapore respectively.

"Our aim is to find a balance between performance and cost and, from what we have learned, it is better to concentrate on the medium market. We're putting more effort into affordability, even if it costs you some performance," says Moshe Keret, IAI president. The company is focused on network-centric solutions to better enhance the aircraft's capabilities and is testing a range of new sensors on its 737 testbed.

Ericsson, like IAI, has not yet decided to respond to South Korea's expected request for proposals. Malaysia is understood to have selected the Swedish Erieye system for either the Embraer EMB-145 or Saab 340 turboprop platform.

Source: Flight International