A NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft approaches the Air Base number 5 during the Real Thaw 2018 exercise in Monte Real, Portugal, February 6, 2018. Reuters
Reuters: NATO faces big bill if it does not pick AWACS successor soon: officials
PARIS (Reuters) - NATO faces significant costs if it does not act soon to choose a successor for its ageing fleet of 14 Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft, often called the alliance’s “eyes in the sky”, senior officials said.
Michael Gschossmann, general manager of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agency that manages the AWACS fleet, said he expected to finalize by December a $750 million contract with U.S. arms maker Boeing Co to extend the life of the aircraft through 2035, with $250 million more earmarked for design, spare parts and testing.
But he said it was critical to decide quickly how to replace the 1979/1980-era airplanes, with their distinctive radar domes on the fuselage, or NATO would need to take costly steps to keep them flying even longer.
“We have to get moving on this. We have to ensure that the studies move along quickly. We need a reality check,” he said.
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Update: NATO Risks Paying GIGANTIC BILL if It Fails to Find Replacement for AWACS Spy Planes SOON (Sputnik)
WNU Editor: This is a decision that should have been made years ago.