Lord Jim wrote:All this arguing aside, I am just glad that for once the MoD actually made a firm decision and is moving ahead with a programme.
ArmChairCivvy wrote:A very good reason to get something else. I.e the biz case was fully costed, and turned out not to be VFM.
To back up that rather brief comment (above), it was noted up-thread, by others, that we have skipped two upgrades. Getting to the "starting line" in the first place obviously bears on the Biz Case. For those that did not have to start from behind the start line, it has still been a long and winding road when you are trying to apply patch on a patch... on a base solution that is old (and spare parts often not coming from production batches anymore). After initial testing in 2010, here is a summary as at 2017:
"E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 Pushed Back Two Years
(Source: Forecast International; issued March 01, 2017)
By C. Zachary Hofer
Production of the E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 aircraft, also known as the E-3G, will be delayed by another two years. The delay was announced in the U.S. Director, Operational Test and Evaluation report for FY16. The E-3G completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) in 2010.
The E-3G began its follow-on operational test and evaluation (FOT&E) in 4Q FY15, in accordance with the Test and Evaluation Master Plan as approved by the DOT&E. Cold weather operational testing began in 2Q FY16, and a cybersecurity Cooperative Vulnerability and Penetration Assessment began in 3Q FY16.
The report says that the testing revealed “deficiencies related to multi-source track integration, maritime tracking, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and software reliability.”
According to the report, the E-3G “has difficulty in combining various on- and off-board sensor data into a coherent single track on a consistent basis.” It adds that “the E-3G version 3.0 and supporting Block 40/45 ground systems are highly vulnerable to cyber threats and not survivable.”
Adding to these problems is that the DOT&E could not collect E-3G mission computing start time and operating capability performance statistics because of aircraft mission cancellations."
- the earlier problem - that the old airframe could not be modified to provide enough cooling for the new kit - presumably has been solved as there is no mention of it