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Tinker gets first DRAGON

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posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 10:12 AM
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The first E-3G with the DRAGON glass cockpit upgrade arrived at Tinker Jan 20th. The upgrade replaces the analog instrument panel with MFDs, as well as ensuring the aircraft are fully compliant with ICAO regulations. It will allow the aircraft to take advantage of RVSM, replaces the transponder with an ADS-B system, and automates the navigation system. The weather radar will also predict and highlight weather ahead of the aircraft for the crew.

Eventually 24 aircraft will get the upgrade. This aircraft underwent scheduled maintenance as well as the upgrade, and will spend the next year undergoing testing and training.


TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- The first E-3 Sentry aircraft with the glass flight deck modification known as DRAGON (Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation) arrived at Tinker Air Force Base Jan. 9.

“Today marks a significant chapter in this wing’s history, as we prepare our Airmen for tomorrow’s challenges. This is the first of 24 modified E-3s that we will receive over the next eight years. Fleet modernization efforts increase our aviators’ capability to establish, project and sustain battle management support to combatant commanders,” said Col. David Gaedecke, the 552nd Air Control Wing commander.

DRAGON provides three primary benefits to the warfighter. First, it ensures compliance with current and future air traffic control requirements in international and domestic airspace. This allows crews access to Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum airspace and optimal flight levels increasing fuel efficiency and reducing clearance delays.

www.af.mil...




posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:34 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Hi, could you elaborate a bit?



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 08:44 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
I know virtually nothing about this stuff so please forgive the utter lack of understanding. Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement doesn't sound like a good thing. The cockpit looks cool, for sure and you called it an upgrade so it seems like a positive thing.

But is it referencing using less resources or that this is some kind of replacement to be used because of diminishing resources?

I've been increasingly enjoying the various plane stuff around here even though I don't really understand it that well.



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: Noncents

It's replacement for parts that are running out. The older aircraft are running out of engines and other parts, and are actually getting to the point the oldest aircraft may be retired to build a parts supply. They also are required to install ADS-B transponders in all aircraft by 2020, so this serves a double purpose by upgrading the current Mode 5 transponder with an ADS-B transponder, as well as the other upgrades.

The glass cockpit gives the crew more information, in an easier to read format. Instead of analog gauges that display limited information, they have multifunction displays that can display pages of information in much greater detail. So this is a big upgrade for them.

This is the existing cockpit:



You can see how limited the information the crew gets is.

This is DRAGON:



You can see how much more information there is available at the push of a button to the crew.
edit on 2/8/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2017 @ 09:54 PM
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a reply to: tikbalang

It's mostly a cockpit upgrade at this point, along with a new transponder. The ICAO and FAA have mandated that all aircraft have to have a broadcasting transponder by 2020, so this is the upgrade for that requirement. The glass cockpit gives the crew more flexibility in flight.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 01:52 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Thanks! I'm actually surprised the Air Force hasn't already gone more digital. I guess it's a not broke, don't fix it type of thing.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 08:16 AM
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a reply to: Noncents

It's more a priority and cost thing. Some have been upgraded already, some are getting upgraded when they get other upgrades. Some are just so old that upgrading to digital isn't easy with their power capabilities, and wiring.




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