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Japanese AWACS fleet to get $208 million in upgrades

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft taxis before takeoff on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 14, 2015. The JASDF contingent is on JBER to participate in Red Flag-Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed training exercises for U.S. and international forces to provide joint offensive, counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment in a simulated combat environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alejandro Pena)

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft taxis before takeoff on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 14, 2015. JASDF AWACS will get upgrades following the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center award of $208 million in February 2018 to the Boeing Co. for installation and checkout of the system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alejandro Pena)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Japan Air Self-Defense Force AWACS will get upgrades following the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center award of $208 million to the Boeing Co. for installation and checkout.

Mission computing upgrades will give Japanese AWACS better interoperability with U.S. systems and improve their standalone command and control capability. AFLCMC’s International Airborne Battle Management Command and Control Division at Hanscom, which awarded the contract, expects the first delivery in late 2019.

“This new capability will be delivered to the JASDF at an opportune time, with Japan hosting the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020,” said Col. Lea T. Kirkwood, chief, International Airborne Battle Management Command and Control Division at Hanscom. “Both our team and our industry partners at Boeing are excited to get to work to provide this capability to our JASDF partners.”

The Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Oklahoma City is the prime contractor for this upgrade of E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and ground support facilities for the Japanese military. This contract, officially awarded Feb. 12, 2018, includes the installation and checkout of enhanced mission computing capability, electronic support measures, traffic alert and collision avoidance system, next-generation identification friend or foe interrogator and data link upgrades for the Japanese AWACS fleet.

“This upgrade provides an enhanced surveillance mission capability and also allows the Japanese to maintain interoperability capabilities in support of their homeland defense operations,” said Teresa Conrad, branch chief for the Japan E-767 AWACS program. “The upgrade is significant because it not only improves the capability of the aircraft, but improves current Japanese AWACS mission sustainment, training, and ground support operations, which are critical to sustained operation of the fleet.”

This new award follows a 2015 contract award to Boeing for the development and production of the MCU capability, which led to this sole source contract.

“Innovative collaboration with Boeing leading up to contract award brought about significant results,” said Camille Connell-Magaw, contracting officer for the Japan AWACS Program. “The team proactively sought opportunities to reduce the timeline to contract award, and negotiations with Boeing were completed within 48 days. Collaboration further resulted in a $50 million, or 20 percent reduction, in costs, which allows the JASDF to support other national defense priorities.”

The contract also provides spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. government and contractor engineering and technical support, installation and checkout and other related elements of program support.

“This whole team is very passionate about getting our close allies these capabilities,” said Conrad.