The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an American airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft developed by Boeing. E-3s are commonly known as AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System).
Derived from the Boeing 707 airliner, it provides all-weather surveillance, command, control, and communications, and is used by the United States Air Force, NATO, French Air and Space Force, and Royal Saudi Air Force.
The E-3 is distinguished by the distinctive rotating radar dome (rotodome) above the fuselage.
Production ended in 1992 after 68 aircraft had been built.
Prototype AWACS aircraft with JT3D engines, 1 fitted with a Westinghouse Electric radar and 1 with a Hughes Aircraft Company radar.
Both converted to E-3A standard with TF33 engines.
Production aircraft with TF33 engines and AN/APY-1 radar, 24 built for USAF (later converted to E-3B standard), total of 34 ordered, the last 9 were completed as E-3Cs.
One additional aircraft retained by Boeing for testing, 18 built for NATO with TF33 engines and 5 for Saudi Arabia with CFM56 engines.
These are not AWACS aircraft but CFM56 powered tankers based on the E-3 design.
8 were sold to Saudi Arabia.
E-3As with improvements.
Production aircraft with AN/APY-2 radar, additional electronic consoles and system improvements.
One E-3A aircraft used by Boeing for trials later redesignated E-3C.
Production aircraft for the RAF to E-3C standard with CFM56 engines and British modifications designated Sentry AEW.1.
Modifications included the addition of a refuelling probe next to the existing boom AAR receptacle, CFM-56 engines, wingtip ESM pods, an enhanced Maritime Surveillance Capability (MSC) offering Maritime Scan-Scan Processing (MSSP), JTIDS and Havequick 2 radios.
Production aircraft for the French Air and Space Force to E-3C standard with CFM56 engines and French modifications.
USAF Block 40/45 modification.
Includes hardware and software upgrades to improve communications, computer processing power, threat tracking, and others, and automates some previously manual functions.