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E-3 Sentry (AWACS) Variants

The US Air Force operates 33 AWACS aircraft. NATO has 17 E-3s; the United Kingdom, seven; Saudi Arabia, five; and France, four, for a total of 66. Japan has four new Boeing 767 AWACS aircraft.

The E-3A Core was the initial production version, with the CC-1 computer and 9 Situation Display Consoles (SDC). A total of 24 production aircraft (23 E-3A Block 10 fitted with APY-1 radar and one E-3A Block 15 with APY-2 and the CC-2 computer) plus two refurbished EC-137D testbeds were built to this standard. The two refurbished EC-137Ds and 22 of the APY-1 equipped production aircraft were upgraded to E-3B Block 20 standard, while the single APY-2 equipped production aircraft and the other remaining APY-1 configured Sentry [retained by Boeing as a trials aircraft] were modified to the E-3C standard.

The KE-3A is a Saudi AF E-3A minus early warning radar and C2 systems. Poweree by four TF-33-100A PW-, it was modified for tanker/cargo mission with ventral boom and wingtip probe-and-drogue, cargo door, and reinforced cargo floor. Peace sentinel program.

The RE-3A is a Saudi AF E-3A powered by four CFM-56-2A-2. It was modified to function as a tactical airborne surveillance system.

The E-3S US/NATO Standard incorporates the APY-2 radar and a mission suite enhancement which include an IBM CC-2 central computer (later upgraded to CC-2E on NATO aircraft); additional HF (3 to 30 MHz) radios; jam-resistant voice communications; a radio teletype capability and provision for defensive countermeasures. Nine such Block 15 aircraft were delivered to the USAF (all of which were later upgraded to the E-3C Block 35 configuration), with another 18 to NATO and five to Saudi Arabia.

The E-3B was upgraded under US Air Force Block 20 program, adding 5 more Situation Display Consoles (SDC), a new computer, radio teletype, and maritime surveillance capability. A total of 24 E-3B Block 20, with the AN/APY-1 surveillance radar, were converted from 22 modified E-3A and 2 original E-3 prototypes. With an austere maritime surveillance capability back-fitted, other mission-suite enhancements include jam resistant voice communications; one additional HF and five additional UHF (0.3 to 1 GHz - with provision for `Have Quick' anti-jamming circuitry) radios, and the IBM CC-2 central computer.

The RE-3B is a Saudi AF E-3B modified to function as an improved tactical airborne surveillance system.

The E-3C , upgraded under the Block 25 program, is similar to E-3A with 5 more Situation Display Consoles (SDC) and Have Quick anti-jamming equipment. A total of 10 E-3A Block 15, with the AN/APY-2 surveillance radar, were converted, with the nine USAF US/NATO Standard E-3As plus the single APY-2 equipped Core aircraft have been brought up to this standard.

The E-3D is a USAF E-3A aircraft purchased by the UK and modified with CFM-56 engines and various other equipment. It is equipped with the AN/APY-2 radar and the Loral EW-1017 ESM system. Seven aircraft were procured for the Royal Air Force. Boeing delivered the first AWACS for the United Kingdom in March of 1991 and delivered the seventh aircraft in May 1992. Recent upgrades include installation of radar system improvement program kits, a Global Positioning System, and enhanced identification friend or foe and collision avoidance systems.

The E-3E designation was initially not used, since the E-3F designation is not sequetial, but rather used the F for France. Some sources claimed the E-3E is a NATO call-sign, which raises the possibility that the designation may apply to the NATO version, but this is not widely attested.

The E-3E AWACS is the Block 40/45 Upgrade, the largest modification in US AWACS history and represents the critical foundation and baseline system required for all future AWACS enterprise modifications including net-centric operations. The AWACS Block 40/45 Upgrade provides a single target/single track capability with an improved human-machine interface for time-critical targeting designed to increase combat effectiveness and reduce fratricide.

As of November 2105, nine of the 27 E-3s assigned to the 552 ACW had received the modification and met their crew certification on the Block 40/45 systems. The entire fleet of E-3 aircraft will be upgraded by fiscal year 2020.

The E-3F is powered by CMF56 engines. Four of these aircraft equipped with AN/APY-2 radar were procured for use by the French Air Force. In 1997 France requested the purchase of four Electronic Support Measures (ESM) Systems for incorporation into their E-3F AWACS fleet, develop and provide support for a French ESM Emitter Data Base system, maintenance of system software and related services, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics services, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, support equipment, spare and repair parts and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost was $85 million. In 2001 Boeing was awarded a $25,500,000 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for procurement, certification and installation of Global Positioning System Integrated and Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum system hardware and software in support of four E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. The work is expected to be completed October 2002.

In June 2005 the French Air Force declared the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of its newly modernized French E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. The AWACS Airborne Early Warning and Control Group's International French Team successfully managed this five-plus-year modernization effort. The team completed the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) kit integration ahead of schedule and on budget

The E-3G designation was applied to upgraded E-3 Sentries given Block 40/45 modifications, involving change-ot of 1970s-vvintage computers with modern open-architecture, increased data integration, and increased > network-centric capabilities. The long-awaited, highly anticipated deployment of the E-3 Block 40/45 is finally over, with the deployment of the first upgraded weapon system to a combat theater of operations in 2015.

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Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:55:20 ZULU