After three years of planning, the NATO Mid-Term (NMT) Programme commenced in 1997 to further improve the capabilities of the E-3A fleet and put it into the conditions to manage the new challenges of the coming years – improving the overall combat capabilities of this force multiplier. The
NMT Programme has been treated as a single-block upgrade that consists of nine integrated system enhancements including modern software architecture for future growth.
Because of the NMT-upgrade the NATO E-3A is now the most advanced Airborne Warning and Control System platform in the world today. Looking down from the sky, the E-3A can provide a more complete air picture than ground radar systems. In December 2008 the NMT Modernization Programme was completed, including the retrofit of 17 E-3As and two Mission Simulators. Total cost of 1.6 billion US dollars.
The NMT upgrade conferred a number of improvements onto the aircraft resulting in expanded command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. Among many major updates the NMT includes Multi Sensor Integration (MSI), automated digital communications switching, new identification friend and foe capabilities, five additional display consoles, satellite communications and wide spectrum Very High Frequency (VHF) radios.
The new flat-panel display is the hallmark of NMT, which is mainly developed on input from AWACS operators, allows a user-friendly set-up providing the crewmembers with improved situational awareness.
“It’s been said that behind every great fighting force there’s the power of information. NATO Mid-Term gives us phenomenal new tools to process and disseminate critical information in seconds across the entire battlespace,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Schmidt, NAEW&C Force Commander. “NMT will also enable us to transition to the net-centric environments of the future, where we will continue to leverage this critical information platform to its maximum potential. NMT is the digital bridge that takes us beyond airborne command and control and into the new age of Information and true Battlespace Management.”