The U.S. Air Force released a Request for Information (RFI) for a replacement aircraft for the Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, a model that was designed and built during the early 1970s, first becoming operational in 1977.

Responses are due by March 10. Although the award amount for this contract is yet undetermined, the Air Force expects the contract will have a base awarding period of five years.

The current E-3 airframe is based on the Boeing 707, an aircraft first flown in 1957. In addition to the U.S. Air Force, other operators of the aircraft include the Royal Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force, French Air and Space Force, Chilean Air Force, and the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.

AWACS enabling capabilities include:

  • Airborne host platform
  • Certified air refueling capability
  • Multi-mode Airborne Moving Target Indication (AMTI) radar
  • On-board BMC2 system
  • Combat Identification
  • Line of Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications
  • Ground elements (mission planning, training, and support)

The Air Force is seeking the following information from potential vendors:

Provide the Government with at least two manned aircraft and associated ground systems within five years that would provide the capabilities of the E-3G listed above. Describe in detail the capabilities your platform would provide in each of the following areas and include Technology Readiness Level (TRL):

  • Advanced AMTI radar
  • IFF capabilities (transmit, receive, interrogate)
  • Electronic support measure
  • BMC2 mission system with integrated on and off board communications
  • Ability to conduct at least six (6) BMC2 missions simultaneously
  • Missions include Offensive Counter Air (OCA), Defensive Counter Air (DCA), Air Traffic Control (ATC), Close Air Support (CAS), Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), Air Refueling (AR), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), etc.
  • Ability to conduct radar-based maritime surveillance missions
  • An integrated self-defense suite
  • Built-in full mission awareness in the cockpit
  • Boom/receptacle air-to-air refueling capability
  • M-Code Global Positioning System
  • Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) communications
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver
  • Second Generation Anti-Jam Tactical Ultra-High Frequency Radio for NATO (SATURN)
  • Link-16 Crypto Modernization and Frequency Remapping
  • Crew rest capability
  • Systems Integration Lab (SIL)
  • Pre- and post-mission ground support systems
  • Aircrew and maintenance training systems

Additional information can be found in the RFI.

Respondents must ensure that their approaches ensure that weapons systems meet Air Force cybersecurity and Risk Management Framework (RMF) requirements and incorporate appropriate program protection. Respondents must also provide examples of where they have provided comparable capabilities that meet these standards and requirements.

Existing vendors supporting E-3 maintenance and sustainment are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon Technologies.

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