Canadian Warplanes 6: Boeing E-3 Sentry

Boeing E-3 Sentry

(Jwk Photo)

NATO E-3s possess LX tail registration, as they are registered in Luxembourg. The chin bulge houses a suite of electronic warfare support measure

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.

The E-3 Sentry's airframe is a modified Boeing 707-320B Advanced model. Modifications include a rotating radar dome (rotodome), uprated hydraulics from 241 to 345 bar (3500–5000 PSI) to drive the rotodome, single-point ground refueling, air refueling, and a bail-out tunnel or chute. A second bail-out chute was deleted to cut mounting costs.

USAF and NATO E-3s have an unrefueled range of 7,400 km (4,600 mi) or 8 hours of flying. The newer E-3 versions bought by France, Saudi Arabia, and the UK are equipped with newer CFM56-2 turbofan engines, and these can fly for about 11 hours or more than 9,250 km (5,750 mi). The Sentry's range and on-station time can be increased through air-to-air refueling and the crews can work in shifts by the use of an on-board crew rest and meals area. The aircraft are equipped with one toilet in the rear, and one behind the cockpit.

NATO acquired 18 E-3As and support equipment, with the first aircraft delivered in January 1982.[38] The aircraft are registered in Luxembourg. The eighteen E-3s were operated by Number 1, 2 and 3 Squadrons of NATO's E-3 Component, based at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen. NATO E-3s participated in Operation Eagle Assist after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. NATO and RAF E-3s participated in the military intervention in Libya. Presently, 16 NATO E-3As are in the inventory, since one E-3 was lost in a crash and one was retired from service in 2015. (Wikipedia)

(Timothy A. Gonsalves Photo)

Boeing E-3A Sentry of the NATO E-3A Component, 22 July 2015.

18 E-3 AWACS were purchased – 1 was written off in Greece, 3 were retired from service. Mainly responsible for monitoring European NATO airspace, they have also been deployed outside the area in support of NATO commitments. The 20 multinational crews [66] are provided by 15 of the 28 NATO member states.

NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force – E-3A Component. Based at Geilenkirchen (Germany), with forward operating bases at Konya (Turkey), Preveza/Aktion (Greece) and Trapani/Birgi (Italy) and a forward operating location at Ørland (Norway).Aircrew Training Squadron Flying Squadron No. 1 Flying Squadron No. 2 Flying Squadron No. 3 was disbanded in 2015.

(Björn Strey Photo)

NATO E-3A Component taking off from Hanover/Langenhagen International Airport.

(Aldo Bidini Photo)

Boeing E-3A Sentry, NATO - Airborne Early Warning Force, 20 July 2009.

Yukla 27 Memorial, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.

On 22 September 1995, the United States Air Force and the Canadian Forces lost 24 of their finest people with the catastrophic accident of a Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.  This aircraft was better known within the Elmendorf and Anchorage communities by its call sign “Yukla 27”.  The aircraft crashed soon after takeoff from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.  It was the first crash of an American E-3.  The aircraft went down at about 07:45 a.m. in a heavily wooded area about two miles northeast of the runway.  The AWACs was headed out on a seven-hour surveillance training mission.

An Air Force investigating officer from Headquarters Pacific Air Forces determined the crash resulted from the aircrafts two left wing engines ingesting several Canada geese.  According to the accident investigator, engine number two lost all power and engine number one experienced severe damage after ingesting the geese shortly after takeoff.  The resulting loss of thrust rendered the Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft uncontrollable.  After a slow, left climbing turn, the aircraft pitched downward and crashed.  Human error on the part of the crew was not a factor.

The memorial, partially pictured above, was dedicated in September 1996 to honour the professionalism and dignity of the 24 crew members of Yukla 27, each of whom is remembered here.

Richard G. Leary, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF, Navigator.

Richard P. Stewart II, Major, USAF, Mission Crew Commander.

Marlon R. Thomas, Major, USAF, Mission Crew Commander.

Steve Tuttle, Major, USAF, Airborne Surveillance Officer.

Glen “Skip” Rogers, Captain, USAF, Pilot.

Robert John Long, Captain, USAF, Senior Director.

Bradley W. Paakola, Captain, USAF, Pilot.

Carlos Alberto Arriaga, First Lieutenant, USAF, Weapons Director.

Stephen C. O’Connel, Master Sergeant, USAF, Advanced Air Surveillance Technician.

Bart L. Holmes, Technical Sergeant, USAF, Flight Engineer.

Ernest R. Parrish, Technical Sergeant, USAF, Area Specialist.

Dave Pitcher, Sergeant, Canadian Forces.

Charles D. Sweet Jr., Technical Sergeant, USAF, Airborne Radar Technician.

Brian K. Vanleer, Technical Sergeant, USAF, Advanced Air Surveillance Technician.

Mark Alan Bramer, Technical Sergeant, USAF, Flight Engineer.

Timothy B. Thomas, Technical Sergeant, USAF, Computer Display Maintenance Technician.

Mark A. Collins, Technical Sergeant, USAF, Communications Systems Operator.

J.P. Legault, Master Corporal, Canadian Forces.

Scott A. Bresson, Staff Sergeant, USAF, Airborne Radar Technician.

Raymond O. Spencer Jr., Staff Sergeant, USAF, Airborne Surveillance Technician.

Joshua N. Weter, Senior Airman, USAF, Computer Display Maintenance Technician.

Lawrence E. DeFrancesco, Senior Airman, USAF, Communications Systems Operator.

Darien F. Watson, Airman, USAF, Airborne Surveillance Technician.

Jeshua C. Smith, Airman, USAF, Airborne Surveillance Technician.

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