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17 June 2015

Boeing’s Modernisation Programmes: New Capabilities Down the Road

In May 2015, Paul Cejas, Chief Engineer Off-Boeing Programs, informed on integrated Logistics Off-Boeing Programmes that include T-38, QF-16, A-10, and F-16.

Cejas explained that T-38 upgrades, sustaining and maintenance engineering contracts will go through 2017, with 456 aircraft (431 AETC, 15 AFMC, 10 Navy) on contract. The T-38 will fly until 2029, according to him.

Furthermore, the A-10 wing replacement programme includes 173 wings on contract with 103 delivered through 2017 and 69 additional wing options. According to Cejas, “we are in early discussions (with USAF) for international refurbished A-10s.” This would include engine-changes/upgrades, according to the Chief Engineer.

On the QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target, aka drone, Cejas mentioned that the first two of 13 Lot 1 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft were delivered. The aircraft converts easily between manned and unmanned modes. “We hope to keep to this one in business for a long time,” Cejas said. “There are new capabilities down the road, including being able to fly it on other test ranges, VBS-based navigation, software updates, and potentially using this as a testbed for unmanned technologies.”

This has led Boeing into the F-16 upgrade market, where Boeing is developing mission computers, having the computing power to include AESA radars. “We have been invited to participate in the USAF Model Mission Computer 7000 competition,” the Chief Engineer explained. “We are in early discussions with other countries,” he said, stating that offers were handed in for Greece and the USAF (competing against Raytheon on the MMC 7000).

The goal is to take this technology and use it on other modernisation programmes. Prototypes of the computer are currently flying in simulations (autonomous via way-point system), to have it ready to fly by 2016. “We are in a very good position, as we are very low cost, and this includes the logistics package, i.e. training a customer,” Cejas concluded. “We can adapt our package accordingly.

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