Cruise Speed (Optimum):
Early Warning & Control
17 to 24
P&W TF33 Turbofans
4 x 20,500 lbf. ea.
152 ft. 11 in.
145 ft. 4 in.
The E-3 Sentry AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System), produced by Boeing, uses the 707 airliner airframe. Its missions include early warning surveillance, command, control and targeting.
The E-3 Sentry is unarmed. It detects, identifies and tracks airborne threats, therefore directing interceptor aircraft to them.
Because the E-3 Sentry can communicate and exchange data with ground based command and control centers, air operations commanders, ships and aircraft, it supports ground operations by providing information needed for interdiction, close air support and airlift operations.
The E-3 Sentry supports maritime operations by locating the positions of enemy ships and tracking them, furthermore identifying the positions of friendly naval vessels and their aircraft relative to their targets.
Most noteworthy, E-3 Sentry is readily identified by its 30 foot diameter rotating radar dome, being held over its rear fuselage by a pair of 11 foot struts, just before its vertical stabilizer.
The radar has a range of some 250 miles and is capable of scanning from the earth’s surface to its stratosphere. In addition, the aircraft has passive detection and identification sensors.
It was in 1965 that the idea for the E-3 Sentry AWACS emerged. That was when the U.S. Air Force began looking for a replacement for its piston powered surveillance aircraft. As a result, after evaluating aircraft from three aerospace companies, they picked Boeing to produce their new aircraft.
The E-3 Sentry first flew in 1972, with the first production aircraft delivered in 1977. A total of 34 of the aircraft were delivered to the U.S. Air Force of which 31 remain in active service.
NATO began taking delivery of E-3 Sentry aircraft in 1982 and now operates 17 aircraft. France has four E-3 Sentry aircraft deployed, Saudi Arabia has five, Japan operates four, built on 767 airframes, and the United Kingdom seven. A total of 68 aircraft were built before production ended in 1992.
E-3 Sentry aircraft have seen action in operations Northern and Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm. The aircraft supported humanitarian relief operations, coordinating rescues between civilian and military authorities for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
RC E-3 Sentry
The RC E-3 Sentry ARF from Jet RC Hobby has a wingspan of 72 1/2 in. and a length of 75 in. Construction is a foam fuselage with balsa sheeted foam wings. For power it needs four 3200 Kv motors turning 56 mm EDF units. All up weight is around 8 lbs.