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E-3 Sentry  
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1977
Total Production: 68
Unitary Cost: USD$300 million
Also Known As: E-3A, E-3C, E-3D, E-3F, E-3G and NE-3A
Origin: United States of America
Corporations: Boeing and Northrop Grumman
Parent System: E-3 Sentry
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1977
Total Production: 72
Total Cost: USD$22 billion
Family Members: E-767
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Description: The E-3 Sentry is an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) that provides all weather surveillance, command, control and communications needed for modern air warfare. The E-3 is in fact a modified Boeing 707-320 commercial airframe fitted with a rotating radar dome. The dome is 9.1 meters in diameter, 1.8 meters thick, and is held 4.2 meters above the fuselage by two struts. It contains a radar capable of detecting airborne or surface (land or water) targets.

The E-3 Sentry aircraft can detect targets at a maximum range of 400 km identifying them through a built-in IFF. Its look-down radar allows separation of airborne targets from the ground and sea clutter returns that usually confuse many radar systems. It provides 360-degree full coverage.

During operation Desert Storm, in 1991, the E-3s from the United States assisted to 38 of the 40 air-to-air kills logged by the international coalition. Since then, the E-3 Sentry performed successfully during military conflicts over the former Yugoslavia and Iraq. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, NATO E-3s were deployed over the United States performing homeland security missions.

Under the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) program, carried out by Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems, the pulse Doppler radar system was upgraded increasing its sensitivity to detect and track smaller targets such as stealthy targets and cruise missiles. The upgrade improved the radar's electronic counter-countermeasures capability to better counter electronic jamming. In addition, radar system availability, maintainability, efficiency and reliability will be enhanced. RSIP kits replaced radar's early computer with a new high-reliability multi-processor. New radar software is easier to maintain and enhance in the future. The modification also upgraded the radar's antenna, receivers and transmitters.

The E-3 Sentry are operated by the Armed Forces of the United States(34-1 crash), United Kingdom, NATO (18-1 crash), France (E-3F), Japan and Saudi Arabia, providing vital information about enemy aircraft, cruise missiles and other air threats. The AWACS provided to Japan, known as the 767 AWACS, were built using a Boeing 767-200 airframe instead of the 707-320.

In 1997, 17 NATO E-3A aircraft were scheduled to undergo a $1.3 billion Mid-Term Modernization Program which was aimed at allowing them to receive mission orders via software from a remote location and updates via satellite data links. Another features of the modernization program is an improved picture of the battlespace provided by onboard/offboard sensors; higher target-to-track capacity; five additional consoles; and an increased interoperability with other assets. The modernization program focused on hardware enhancements to be available for the entire fleet.

The first improved NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft flew in October 2004 after seven years of engineering, manufacturing and design. Testing was scheduled to be completed in 2005 and the retrofit of the entire fleet is expected to be completed in 2008. The NATO AWACS fleet is expected to remain operational until at least 2025.

On 5 August 2004, UK MoD selected Northrop-Grumman as preferred bidder to provide Royal Air Force's E-3D Sentry aircraft with maintenance and design engineering support services to improve availability and reduce through-life ownership costs. The final contract is expected in January 2005.

The UK E-3D support contract is valued at approximately $1.19 billion (£650 million) over 21 years. Northrop-Grumman will ensure that only one E-3, out of a fleet of seven, is scheduled for maintenance in any given time as well as spares and repair parts availability.

In early 2005, Boeing announced that the first French E-3F RSIP upgraded under a $133 million Foreign Military Sales agreement was completed successfully ahead of schedule. The other three E-3Fs were scheduled to undergo RSIP upgrade by mid-2006. France took delivery of a four-member E-3F fleet in the early 1990s. Modification work was performed by Air France Industries, under subcontract to Boeing, at its facility in Le Bourget, France.

On April 5, 2005, Boeing announced the completion of installation of Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) on the 32th US Air Force E-3 AWACS. The E-3 fleet underwent RSIP upgrade beginning in 1998, since then 32 aircraft have received the upgrade kit that enables them to detect and track smaller targets among other features.

In July 2005, Boeing started installing satellite communications and air traffic management upgrades on the US Air Force E-3 Sentry fleet. In addition, a collision avoidance system was included in this modernization program. The 32 AWACS aircraft were expected to complete modification under this program by the end 2010. The first aircraft with such enhancements was expected to be delivered back to the US Air Force by January 2006.

On 11 August 2005, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense awarded Northrop-Grumman a £665 million ($1.3 billion) over 20-plus years. The contract was for aircraft-maintenance and design-engineering support services to improve availability and reduce through-life ownership costs for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force fleet of E-3D Sentry aircraft.

In June 2006, Boeing announced the completion of RSIP kits installation on France's E-3F AWACS fleet (4 aircraft). This upgrade was done through a $143 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

E-3 Sentry Specifications

Crew: 23
Number of Engines: 4
Tracked Aerial Targets: 300
Height: 12.6 meter (41 foot)
Length: 44 meter (146 foot)
Wingspan: 39.9 meter (131 foot)
Ceiling: 10,700 meter (35,105 foot)
Max Detection Range: 400 kilometer
Max Instrumented Range: 650 kilometer
Max Range: 9,260 kilometer (5,000 nautical mile)
Cruise Speed: 159 mps (573 kph)
Top Speed at High Altitude: 222 mps (432 KTAS)
Flight Endurance: 11 hour (0.46 day)
Max Takeoff Thrust: 84,000 pound (38,102 kilogram)
Max Takeoff Weight: 157 ton (347,002 pound)
CEP: Circular Error Probable
Meters (m)   Kilometers (km)   Nautic Miles (nm)   Inch (in)   Yard (yd)   Foot (ft)   Millimeter (mm)
Pound (lb)   Kilogram (kg)   kN (KiloNewton)   Ton (t)
Meters per Second (mps)   Kilometers per Hour (kph)   Knot (kt)   Miles per Hour (mph)
Liter (l)   Galon (gl)
Year (yr)   Minutes (min)   Second (sec)
Shaft-Horse-Power (shp)

E-3 Sentry News

There are 42 news between
5 Aug 2004 and 24 May 2019
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Friday, May 24, 2019FMS: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Requests Aircraft Follow-on Support and Services
FMS: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Wants Aircraft Follow-on Support and Services
Tuesday, December 18, 2018Boeing Completes NATO AWACS Upgrades
Wednesday, October 3, 2018UK Looking at E-7 Wedgetail as Potential E-3 Sentry Replacement
Monday, October 16, 2017Saudi Arabia to Modernize AWACS Fleet
Tuesday, May 23, 2017Saudi Arabia Takes Delivery of Final Upgraded E-3A AWACS Aircraft
Tuesday, December 13, 2016Boeing Begins Digital Flight Deck Upgrades to NATO E-3 Fleet
Thursday, November 3, 2016Russia Deploys Il-22PP Electronic Warfare Aircraft to Syria
Wednesday, May 20, 2015First Boeing Upgraded French E-3F AWACS Takes Flight
Thursday, March 12, 2015Updated NATO AWACS with 21st Century Flight Deck, Avionics Completes First Flight

Operators & Related Equipment

United Kingdom7
United States of America32
202024Block 40/45 aircraft
Jul 201529E-3B/C/G
201432E-3B (22) and E-3C (10)

Grand Total 484
Propulsion Systems
Protection Systems
Sensor Systems
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