Boeing Co. contract extension with Tinker Air Force Base worth $107 million

Associated Press

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. — Boeing Co. has won a $107 million contract to update radar units for six more planes at Tinker Air Force Base, extending the company’s two-year project.

Boeing has been installing E-3 AWACS radar units since 1998 and already had the contract to update 13 planes. Now the Seattle company likely will improve radar units on the rest of Tinker’s 32 U.S. sentry planes, Boeing spokesman David Sloan said Monday.

The new contract includes an option to give Boeing more work next year. The second option will cost $92 million for the last 13 planes, Sloan said.

It will take almost a dozen years and some $400 million to update the Air Force’s entire Tinker fleet. Civilians at Tinker are doing the work.

The new contract does not create jobs, but ensures Tinker will keep its radar update crew busy through 2010, said Mark Ellis, project manager for Boeing’s radar system improvement program.

A radar update kit includes a new radar computer, a radar control maintenance panel and electrical and mechanical hardware and software. It improves the radar’s electronic counter-counter measures and upgrades the computer.

Boeing began creating the kits in 1989.

The system increases the sensitivity of pulse Doppler radar, helping an aircraft detect and track smaller targets, Ellis said.

"That was proven during the allied air campaign over Kosovo," he said.

Tinker houses E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System planes, which provide surveillance and communications for U.S. and NATO air defense forces.

The Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts selected Tinker for the project.

European companies have updated AWACS radar systems in the NATO and United Kingdom fleets, Ellis said.

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