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Boeing Completes Communications Modification On Saudi Awacs Aircraft

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Steve Davies

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ST. LOUIS, July 15, 2008 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has completed a major communications upgrade on the first of five Saudi E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft as part of a $49.2 million contract.

Installation and checkout of the aircraft were performed at the Boeing Military Flight Center in Seattle. The enhancement, known as Link 16, is a secure, jam-resistant, digital data link that allows military aircraft, ships and ground units to exchange tactical pictures in near real time. Link 16 also supports the exchange of text messages and imagery data and provides additional channels for digital voice.

The Link 16 AWACS upgrade is the first in a series of anticipated technology upgrades to the Saudi AWACS fleet.

"This powerful capability provides the Saudi fleet with a secure data and voice link, allowing direct communication between their AWACS aircraft and forward-positioned fighter aircraft," said Mark Mills, Saudi AWACS program manager for Boeing.

Boeing partner Alsalam Aircraft Co. will upgrade the remaining four aircraft in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with Boeing on-site support. The fleet upgrade is scheduled to be completed in December 2009.

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