Boeing E-3 Sentry

1st Flight 1972

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.

Variants

EC-137D-2 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.

E-3A-Production aircraft with TF33 engines and AN/APY-1 radar, 24 built for USAF (later converted to E-3B standard), total of 34 ordered but the last 9 completed as E-3C.

One additional aircraft retained by Boeing for testing, 18 built for NATO with TF33 engines and 5 for Saudi Arabia with CFM56 engines.

KE-3A-These are not AWACS aircraft but CFM56 powered tankers based on the E-3 design. 8 were sold to Saudi Arabia.

E-3B-E-3As with improvements, 24 conversions.

E-3C-Production aircraft with AN/APY-2 radar, additional electronic consoles and system improvements, ten built.

JE-3C-One E-3A aircraft used by Boeing for trials later redesignated E-3C.

E-3D-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.

E-3F-Production aircraft for the French Air and Space Force to E-3C standard with CFM56 engines and French modifications.

E-3G-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. initial operating capability (IOC) reached in July 2015.

Specifications

Crew: Flight crew: 4

Mission crew: 13–19

Length: 152 ft 11 in (46.61 m)

Wingspan: 145 ft 9 in (44.42 m)

Height: 41 ft 4 in (12.60 m)

Wing area: 3,050 sq ft (283 m2)

Empty weight: 185,000 lb (83,915 kg)

Gross weight: 344,000 lb (156,036 kg)

Max take-off weight: 347,000 lb (157,397 kg)

Powerplant: 4 × Pratt and Whitney TF33-PW-100A turbofan, 21,500 lbf (96 kN) thrust each

Performance

Maximum speed: 461 kn (531 mph, 854 km/h)

Cruise speed: 310 kn (360 mph, 580 km/h) optimum

Range: 4,000 nmi (4,600 mi, 7,400 km)

Endurance: more than 8 hours without refuelling

Service ceiling: 29,000 ft (8,800 m) minimum

Avionics

AN/APS-133 colour weather radar

Westinghouse Corporation AN/APY-1 or AN/APY-2 passive electronically scanned array radar system.

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