Information about the Royal Air Force - RAF Aircraft - Sentry AEW1 - r7a6 - Armed Forces



E-3D Sentry AEW1 aircraft

Deliveries of the Sentry AEW1, commenced in March 1991 and delivery of all seven airframes was complete in early 1992. These seven aircraft are of the same type as the 18 delivered to the multinational NATO early warning force between 1982/1985.

Powered by four CFM 56-2A-3 engines, the Sentry is designed to cruise at 29,000 feet whilst detecting air and surface contacts with its AN/APY-2 surveillance radar.

Information is then transmitted back to interceptor aircraft and, ground air-and-ship-based units using a wide variety of digital datalinks. All are equipped with the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) and a 665,360 word memory secure communication system.

Between 1998-2000, RAF Sentry aircraft were upgraded under the Radar System Improvement Programme (RSIP) costing some 120 million. New Global Positioning System navigation equipment was also installed.

AEW Sentry has a long flight endurance of up to 18 hours and the six UK aircraft form about 25 per cent of the total NATO AEW Force. During the past decade Sentry AEW1 aircraft were deployed in support of Operation Telic during the 2003 Iraq War and for Operation Oracle in support of ISAF in Afghanistan from 2002. During 2011 Sentry was deployed over Libya in support of Operation Ellamy.

Sentry is due to leave service in 2025.

E-3D SENTRY AEW1 Specifications

Crew 5 x Flight Crew
12/13 Mission Crew
Wingspan 44.42m
Height 12.73m
Length 46.61m
All Up Operational Weight 147,400kg
Patrol Endurance 6hrs (can be enhanced by AAR)
Ferry Range 3,200km
Max Speed 853kph (530mph)
Engines 4 x CFM-56-2A-3
Armament Provision for self-defence air-to-air missiles

In service with:

8 Squadron

3 x Sentry AEW1

RAF Waddington

23 Squadron

3 x Sentry AEW1

RAF Waddington

Some reports in 2013 suggest that only four aircraft are in operational service.

Photo Copyright Alasdair Taylor