Allied C2 Capabilities RAMPed Up

Workers at Tinker AFB, Okla., install critical 40/45 upgrades to E-3
Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft during programmed depot
maintenance. The AWACS 40/45 program office, headquartered at Hanscom AFB,
Mass., is the lead for delivering, and potentially accelerating, the
upgrades.  (Courtesy photo)

Workers at Tinker AFB, Okla., install critical 40/45 upgrades to E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft during programmed depot maintenance to the U.S. Air Force fleet in 2014. The Boeing Co. will execute phase one of a similar upgrade process to the Royal Saudi Air Force's fleet of five AWACS after winning a $240 million contract in October, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Phase one of a $1.6 billion, decade-long upgrade and sustainment effort for five Royal Saudi Air Force E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft began with a $240 million contract award.

RAMP, the Royal Saudi Air Force E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control Systems Modernization Program, is an extensive mission computing and communications upgrade program, turning current Block 30/35 AWACS into the 40/45 configuration. The International Airborne Battle Management Command and Control Division here awarded this first contract to the Boeing Co.

“The AWACS Block 30/35 has been a reliable and proven capability,” said Evan Pressman, program manager for RAMP Phase One. “But bringing the RSAF onto the Block 40/45 configuration enhances interoperability and improves mission system reliability.”

Unlike most large Foreign Military Sales cases, where all program funding is provided upfront, RAMP is segmented into distinct phases for financial flexibility. 

Follow-on phases will include production and kitting of upgraded equipment, platform installation, checkout and testing. Initial sustainment of RAMP components will be included, eventually transitioning to the RSAF for long-term maintenance and sustainment.

The RSAF purchased its first AWACS in 1986, approximately ten years after the U.S. Air Force first fielded the capability. The aircraft is based on a Boeing-707 airframe, with significant modifications, including the AWACS hallmark, a large rotating radar dome above the fuselage.