A Boeing E-3D Sentry has returned to its home base at RAF Waddington following its final mission on Operation SHADER, bringing to a close 30 years of operational service.

The Royal Air Force say here in a news release:

“The E-3D Sentry aircraft flew its final operational sortie on the 30th July over Iraq as part of the counter-Daesh Operation SHADER. The aircraft from 8 Squadron had been deployed to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and was the latest and last deployment since 2015.

The aircraft returned to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on 4th August and was greeted by Air Vice-Marshal Al Marshall, the Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group and also Major General Thomas Kunkel United Stated Air Force Commanding Officer of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Sea Control Force.”

Describing the aircraft’s lengthy service, the Commander of the Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance Force, Air Commodore Hay Commander said:

“Sentry’s return from a hugely successful overseas deployment heralds a fitting end to over 30 years of continuous service in support of NATO, other coalition and national operations.  Whether operating from their home base at Waddington or airfields from across Europe and the broader Middle East, Sentry has contributed by providing a Recognised Air and Maritime Picture that has enabled others to operate with significant freedom of action against the most hostile of threats.”

The Royal Air Force say that during the period between retirement and the Wedgetail becoming operational, the Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance requirements will be covered by a combination of other aircraft and E-3s from the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.

What is the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force?

Under NATO Allied Air Command’s operational control, the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A ‘Sentry’ Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft, better known as AWACS. These aircraft provide members with an immediately available air and maritime surveillance as well as airborne command and control and air battle management capability.

NATO say on their website that the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is “the Alliance’s largest collaborative venture”.

“A venture that exemplifies NATO’s ability to facilitate multinational cooperation and to exploit the benefits of that the pooling of resources can bring.”

Further confirmation of this came recently thanks to a written Parliamentary question.

Mark Francois, Member of Parliament for Rayleigh and Wickford, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the date on which the (a) last E-3D sentry aircraft will be retired from operational service and (b) first E-7 Wedgetail will achieve initial operating capacity in Royal Air Force service.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded today:

“We will retire the E-3D Sentry from operational service later in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E-7 Wedgetail aircraft, which are expected to enter service in December 2023. The United Kingdom remains part of the NATO AEW&C Force Headquarters.”

An E-7 Wedgetail of the Royal Australian Air Force. Photo by Bidgee [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons.
Wedgetail (pictured above) is an airborne early warning and control system, commonly known as AWACs or AEW&C. They are designed to track multiple targets at sea or in the air over a considerable area for long periods of time.

This aircraft is replacing the E-3D Sentry, pictured below.

FILE PHOTO: E-3D Sentry

What is the status of Wedgetail?

The UK recently cut its order for five E-7 aircraft to three. The Defence Command Paper released earlier in the year, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:

“We will retire the E 3D Sentry in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E 7A Wedgetail in 2023. The E 7A will transform our UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capability and the UK’s contribution to NATO. The nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will help to secure our seas. The introduction into service of the 16 long range Protector remotely piloted systems will be the backbone of persistent, multi spectral surveillance, with the ability to strike and act decisively against our potential adversaries around the globe.”

You can read more about that here. You can also read more about the status of the first E-7 for the Royal Air Force by clicking here or clicking the link below.

First UK E-7 Wedgetail ready for conversion work

What is the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force?

Under NATO Allied Air Command’s operational control, the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A ‘Sentry’ Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft, better known as AWACS. These aircraft provide members with an immediately available air and maritime surveillance as well as airborne command and control and air battle management capability.

NATO say on their website that the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is “the Alliance’s largest collaborative venture”.

“A venture that exemplifies NATO’s ability to facilitate multinational cooperation and to exploit the benefits of that the pooling of resources can bring.”

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John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago

Though we are all taking holidays at home this year, the MOD is well ahead of the curve, they have been enjoying capability holidays at home for years now.

Might I suggest we re-establish the Royal Observer Corps…..

OldSchool
OldSchool
4 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

The UK are in NATO. Presumably they csn fill the gap for a year or two. Not much too much to ask considering the huge commitments the UK has made to NATO/Europe for many many decades.

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Very true, I would hope that’s the agreement, enough people ride our coattails in Europe, about time the favour was returned.

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Whilst NATO can fill this capability gap until Wedgetail enters service in Dec 23, the capability we will have lost is the ability to deploy such an asset independent of NATO, where such a scenario might only be in UK interests, not necessarily those of NATO!
Agreed that it may not happen, but nevertheless…..

James
James
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Unless all the staff of the E-3 are made redundant how exactly are we going to lose the ability to deploy wedgetail without NATO?

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  James

Between Dec21-Dec23 we will have no aircraft in our inventory, so can’t deploy anything, hence the capability loss.
The staff are/can be embedded in NATO/Aus/US units to keep skillset.

John N
John N
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Mate, there are already RAF personnel here in Oz training and learning on our 6 E-7A aircraft.

But I suspect there is a limit as to the number of RAF personnel we could absorb without interfering with our own training and operational needs (unless they are permanent transfers?).

I’m sure the Australian Government and RAAF are happy to assist, but there will be limits.

Cheers,

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  John N

Back in the day I worked at RAf Farnbourgh with some light blue Nimrod crews, they had a exchange crewman from NZ attached to the unit, so this exchange stuff has been going on for years I imagine.
Have to agree, you need to look to your own requirements first, then offer help. Im sure uncle Sam will chip in with AWACS trg should we need to stay current as it were.
Enjoy your day/night whatever it is over there at the moment.

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  John N

I’ve mentioned this before John, the reason we are only buying three is we are planning on nicking a couple of yours … Off for a training flight one day and we won’t bring it back!!

Challenger
Challenger
4 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

That’s the issue isn’t it. An acceptable gap in the context of UK and European defence but it means we can’t deploy independently of NATO. Even on something like Op Shader presumably we’re now relying on US aircraft for over-watch.

Even once we get 3 Wedgetails the RAF will do well to have more than 1 available for operations outside of the UK.

Deep32
Deep32
4 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

As @DM points out below. HMG is risk taking, in their view obviously an acceptable one!
As many have posted, the new force is going to be made up of mixed asset, of which Wedgetail is only a part of. Not sure how it’s all going to work, but time will tell I imagine.

andy a
andy a
4 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

You mean exactly how us, the US and others rely on each others plane refueling, ship refueling at sea, Intelligence gathering, space assets…….. Its not a new thing and if it enables us to save few million in repairing old systems while we get the new ones then good on them for facing up to the real life financial situation. There is no moe cash for time being. People on here are critising them cutting to 3 wedgetails, yes its not ideal but its a platform we can live with 3. We usually deploy taking it in turns with USA… Read more »

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
2 days ago
Reply to  andy a

The E3D was a standard E3A with UK ESM for compatibility with other UK assets and an AAR probe for Tanking. Neither of these are the cause of the aircraft’s demise. The UK E3s have had no investment other than a radar update early in its life. The aircraft were worked very hard in its early in-service life. The Mission system needs replacing and radar further updates equally important the Navigation system is out of date and the aircraft needs a complete cockpit upgrade. Additionally the airframe is old and suffering from fatigue and other problems. Its not until you… Read more »

dan
dan
4 days ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Good luck getting NATO to fly their E-3 in support of the QE CV group.

Dern
Dern
4 days ago
Reply to  dan

You’ve got exactly one note haven’t you?

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
4 days ago

Can’t believe only 3! are being bought, that means only 1 could be available for operational sorties.

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

It suggests to me that those in power see a different approach coming down the road in 15-20 years, some sort of large, long endurance AEW drone, perhaps even an all encompassing GTR capability too…. Three airframes seem to be somewhat of a stopgap measure, perhaps with 15 years service in mind before being sold off…. The technology and reliability needs to improve though, we can plant a Watchkeeper in a smoking hole in the ground and say oops, best get another from the warehouse …. But a large high end drone with sophisticated radar and processing tech is going… Read more »

Paul42
Paul42
4 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Its going to be unaffordable……..once again existing capabilities are axed or cut in numbers on the basis of a pie in the sky idea that will cost far more to create and develop than those existing capabilities…….the UK has a terrible record of going down this road and then left wanting after billions have been flushed down the toilet. When you consider the problems encountered with what was supposed to be the simplest option for maritime AEW – Crowsnest, which actually utilises existing kit, how on earth can anyone seriously believe we can create a drone capable of doing the… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I’m sure it will come, the technology is advancing at an incredible pace, 15 years from now such a beast will be flying.

There’s a reason Uncle Sam’s in no rush to replace the E3 in USAF service.

Andy P
Andy P
4 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

That is the concern for a lot of us I think. It also means we can really only support one area, if we’re wanting to deploy one out of area then we might be screwed.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 days ago

One of the E3s has been sold to the US Navy for 15mil USD . It means that the USN can do pilot training in that aircraft without putting extra hours on the dedicated E6 Tacamo/Mercury planes so saving air frame time.

The RAF is doing quite well at flogging off stuff to the USN…They flogged a Herc J to the USN Blue Angels display team for 30mil not long ago. Its now known flying with them an is known as Fat Albert!

John
John
49 seconds ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Don’t forget the harriers which were sold the the USMC, which is itself part of the department of navy.

Donaldson
Donaldson
4 days ago

Losing Sentinel now Sentry and I believe I read the new Wedgetails will be based at Lossiemouth, Is Waddington getting closed soon cause it’s getting emptied out quick?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Donaldson

No, nowhere near! It is one of the RAF’s busiest locations.

Red Arrows moving there. And ops wise –

Shadow with 14 Sqn.
Rivet Joint with 51 Sqn.
Reaper GS, Protector coming with 13 and 39 Sqns.
The AWC HQ, AIC, various AWC divisions, and associated EW / Sigint / ISTAR stuff ( 1 ISRW ) conveniently close to Digby up the road.

Lots of other bits and pieces.

Not a chance.

Last edited 4 days ago by Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago

NATO available.
UKADR unaffected.
3 E7s incoming with UAV in future which is why I think the E7 purchase was reduced.

Deeps comment on an independent capability in a UK only situation is valid.
Guess that is another risk HMG take in the short term.

Not the first time and this is not the worst of them.

James H
James H
4 days ago

Waiting for something in the future that isn’t even at the earliest of stages is just the MODs new excuse for not buying enough of anything.
I appreciate developments move quickly but this new approach is no better then fitted for but not with strategy

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  James H

You might well be right James.

Save us moaning here what can be done?
My MP won’t know the difference from a Sentry or a Sentinel, or probably has never heard of them.

There’s no alternative save civil war clearing out the big 3 parties and a more defence minded party in place! Snd public care little. So, I look to what is positive, that 3 modern AWACS are incoming.
Pity it’s not 5.

dan
dan
4 days ago

So only 3. That means 1 for training, 1 on standby alert to scramble for Russian bombers and 1 in maintenance/upgrading.

dan
dan
4 days ago

Every time the Russians send bombers to poke the Brits fighters, tankers and and E-3 are scrambled. Is NATO going to scramble an E-3 every time this happens now? lol

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  dan

Considering the Russians are monitored by dozens of other radar including civil probably not.

Find it very hard to believe AWACS is used every time. No need if the bombers are medium altitude. The c3 side is controlled by CRCs, ground based.

dan
dan
4 days ago

The ground based radars have the same weaknesses as the radars on ships being the radar horizon. This is why the commander of the QESG requested and got E-3 coverage. A high flying AEW plane provides more warning especially of low flying cruise missiles, planes, UAVs, ect.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  dan

Obviously!

It is what it is. We had a similar issue in the Falklands.

A capability is gapped. There you go.

Dern
Dern
4 days ago

Given that we are taking a short capability gap, I’d say it’s certain AWACS isn’t used every time.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 days ago
Reply to  dan

What do you suppose happens now when Russian aircraft fly around the coast of Norway? NATO operates its AWACS fleet from four formal forward bases including one located close to Trondheim. NATO may also operate its AWACS from other airfields. That’s in addition to the network of military surface radar stations in Norway, Iceland and the UK that are parts of NATO’s IADS along with any surface naval vessels operating in the Norwegian sea.

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago

As ever Daniele, totally agree mate.

James H
James H
4 days ago

I appreciate that they are old and expensive to operate now as we didn’t update them as we spent all our money on Afghanistan but what is the reasoning for having a capability gap.
Furthermore is 3 wedgetails really a capability or a token one, can you deploy one and cover QRA still?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 days ago
Reply to  James H

The issue is, as ever, that they were UK modded.

Once that is done UK MOD has to fund that upgrade pathway and all the integrations to it. For some of these things that simply isn’t worth the candle anymore.

James H
James H
4 days ago

Are they that obsolete that we couldn’t get a couple of years out of them? Or really not worth it

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 days ago
Reply to  James H

Not really worth it.

They have missed several upgrade cycles already and using ancient computers and systems, that spares will be a massive problem for, this has its own shelf life.

If I was to take a guess, I do not know this, I would say the data has been forced on RAF when they ran out of critical bits of electronics to rob from the other airframes.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
3 days ago

Where did this come from? The UK E3s were not heavily UK modified they were bought with the French E3s off the same production line and Boeing drove hard for commonality between the two to make the package affordable. for all. The French E3s are just completing their upgrade to the latest Block 40/41 standard ours are headed for the breakers yard – what a testament to the way we manage our aircraft.
.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
2 days ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

RAF signed a servicing agreement with Northrop Grumman in 2005 for the E3D after a competitive tender, ostensibly the type would then have received UK unique upgrades…these never happened and instead RAF Sentry missed out on the standard upgrades that the international E-3 fleet received. French E-3F have been through Block 30/35 and the more recent Block 40/45 upgrades. The problem is the Block 40/45 upgrade is built off work already done in 30/35, if you miss out on the former it makes the latter prohibitively complex and expensive. This is on the MOD deciding to go for a support… Read more »

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
1 day ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Agreed – so called SMART procurement and no one in the RAF seemed to see this coming!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  James H

We don’t use AEW for QRA. 👍

Heidfirst
Heidfirst
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

plenty of UK AWACS orbits though.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 days ago
Reply to  Benjamin Rule

3 years ago. Using AEW isn’t a common practice, and a AEW asset isn’t held on QRA. A Voyager tanker deploys when the Typhoons launch.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Typhoons and Voyager yes, E3 no. Not for a standard QRA alert anyway. Are you a veteran Dan?

Dave Spencer
Dave Spencer
3 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Correct. i worked on E3D when they were arriving from Wichita. It most definitely wasn`t a QRA aircraft.

dan
dan
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Whenever Russian bombers are heading towards Britain fighters, a tanker and an AWACS are launched. Standard operating procedure. At least it was.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  James H

Have they ever covered QRA?

Only aircraft I’m aware of covering QRA is the standby tanker at Brize Norton.

The existing ground based ASCS and NATOs RAP work with QRA.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago

So the 3 E7 may work like the ELINT force, 1 deployed in theatre in role.

James H
James H
4 days ago

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2021-03-25/savage-cuts-raf-uk-defense-review

I thought they covered the gap when the Russians went down past Ireland, but i might be wrong

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  James H

Don’t know. I’m not aware of any gaps in the UK’s radar coverage, even from the west. Benbecula and Portreath cover that direction.

Dern
Dern
4 days ago

Never head of it, I think Dan might be making it up.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
2 days ago

The USAF maintained a force of E3s in Keflavik Iceland to monitor the Iceland, Greenland UK Gap. One ac was on permanent QRA and regularly launched within the 1 hour allotted to them. They also stood on alert elsewhere in the world on a similar basis. They often worked with UK fighters (Lightnings and Phantoms and Victor tankers).

julian1
julian1
4 days ago

I remember the Shackleton and the woes of keeping that running in total obsolescence whilst we awaited the Nimrod AEW3….that was canned and the Sentry was quickly procured

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  julian1

Yes. What a fighter force we had then. Strike Command alone overall was 800 aircraft plus. My military interest was beginning then.

Steve
Steve
4 days ago

Seems nuts that they couldn’t keep the capability for another couple of years until the replacement arrive, even if significantly cut back air hours, just to have the capability should the worse occur.

J Peter Wilson
J Peter Wilson
4 days ago

According to Look North for Yorkshire & Lincolnshire, RAF Waddington will also be the new home for the Red Arrows. So, it will be a busy base with all the other aircraft and UAV operations based there.

Andrew
Andrew
4 days ago

I suppose if the worst comes to pass, we could always bring the Shackletons back!

Andy a
Andy a
4 days ago

Oh and for the moaners it’s not a cut as we have apparently only had 3 platforms flying since 2015 due to parts! No change!

Jake
Jake
4 days ago

How does the E-3 compare to Crowsnest? I know Crowsnest is far from the best AWACS but, if push comes to shove, could it be used on say a C-130 with and offer an effective benefit?

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 days ago
Reply to  Jake

It’s a massive difference. As part of the Crowsnest system, it uses the Searchwater 2000 radar. This is a traditional pulse-doppler mechanically rotating radar. When used in the Sea King ASAC it had a published range of 150 miles against a 1m cubed target. When the Merlin is cruising at 4000m, it might be able to detect a sea skimming target flying at 5m altitude about 140 miles away. The E7 being based on the Boeing B737 will be cruising between 10,000m and 12,000m. So for the same target, the E7’s MESA radar will be able to detect it between… Read more »

John N
John N
4 days ago

I find it interesting every time there’s an article regarding the replacement of E-3D by E-7A, a reason (or is it an excuse?) given by some commentators is that the reduced buy of three (3), rather than the original five (5), is justified because some see E-7A as just an ‘interim’ capability that will be replaced by a UAV capability in the future. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not? I can certainly see that a future large UAV may well be capable of carrying the large powerful radar and sensors required for the AEW&C, Battle Management and other roles, but… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 days ago
Reply to  John N

I agree. If you look at the size of the manned aircraft that are used to carry Saab’s Erieye. They are either a small regional airliner or a large business jet. The unmanned aircraft needed to carry this radar will be no different. Also, you are probably going to need at least two engines to generate enough electricity to power it. The real benefits for a unmanned aircraft is there is no risk to life for the aircrew, the time on station can be made longer and due to the weight reduction by removing the crew and environmental systems you… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Not so sure about needing two engines given the recent RR PR quoting 2.5MW power generation from a “beer keg” sized engine. https://www.rolls-royce.com/media/press-releases/2021/22-07-2021-rr-generator-delivered-for-most-powerful-hybrid-electric-propulsion-system-in-aerospace.aspx While satellite comms are probably the default, it also seems likely that a future network of AEW UAS platforms will be able to use a mesh network between aircraft and/or down to surface assets such as ships and back to air or satellite, to provide redundancy and resilience over loss of degradation of a sat comms only system. Radar choice will be interesting. For example, using a significantly larger number of unmanned platforms with x-band, accepting potentially… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 days ago

Sorry, but this is a long one! That’s a very good point regarding the RR embedded starter generator. When they say “beer keg”, I wonder what the real size of the engine actually is? With radar there a lot of compromises that need to be made over the choice of the operating frequency. The E2D’s AN/APY-9 AESA radar that operates in the UHF band (0.3 GHz to 1 GHz) for example. This means its wavelength is 1m down to 30cm. You can size an antenna to 1/4 wavelength, which means it’s 25cm down to 7.5cm. Another factor with phased arrays… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I presumed the image RR used with the PR was illustrating the “beer keg” engine. Not entirely clear as to size but seems similar to a classic beer barrel. Close enough for government work as the saying goes for a PR size comparison I’d say 😉 The dynamics of radar frequency band selection and implementation are interesting. The AN/APY-9 seems to be using significantly increased processing vs. E-2C along with AESA to improve discrimination, while retaining UHF for range, low power reqs. and effectiveness against stealth air platforms. The US were clearly aware of the direction of stealth technology, including… Read more »

Benjamin Rule
Benjamin Rule
4 days ago

I’m left wondering, what was the point of this deployment? Why did we need to deploy the E3D to support CSG21? What capability were we testing that we have now lost?

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/raf-e-3d-awacs-supports-uk-carrier-strike-group-in-mediterranean

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 days ago
Reply to  Benjamin Rule

Or were we testing wether something else was comparable?

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 days ago

I suspect it was a just in case requirement. The three Crowsnests equipped Merlins are still in development. If there was major issue, especially going past Libya and near Syria at least the task group had air cover.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Maybe: how about on the way back!

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 days ago

I think it is kind of telling that the E3 didn’t follow them to India, Singapore or through to the SCS. Does that mean the RN are now content with the Crowsnest’s performance? Or that the E3D had a problem?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

All I think it means is that CSG did a comparative with some other capability and decided they had enough of whatever E3 provided.

So E3 added nothing to the party and was sent home.

That is my take anyway.

Who know what US are providing in terms of over watch.

dan
dan
4 days ago

A sad day for British AEW&C.

Cripes
Cripes
4 days ago

Did we have 8 Sentrys originally? We cut to 6, then 4, now 3 replacements…
It means we will be able to have one on station, part of the day.

Basically, we are just about out of the AWACS game. This would be a good time to pool what little we have with the NATO Europe AWACS squadron, it can collectively keep eyes over NATO Europe and Eastlant.
Talk about sovereignty is pretty meaningless when we can likely field juat one aircraft at a time.

Paul T
Paul T
4 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

There were 7 Originally i believe.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
2 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

7 E3s were purchased after the competitive run off against the 11 Nimrod AEWs. It would be interesting to know what Requirement the E7 has been purchased against if any?. .

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
4 days ago

Is three E-7’s enough to be termed a ‘fleet’ ?

criss whicker
criss whicker
4 days ago

the government and the MOD, can no longer defend the indefensible.

criss whicker
criss whicker
4 days ago

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RAF E-3D last sortie. Disgraceful capability gap now filled by older NATO E-3A & same age Fr E-3F. D & F were bought in joint buy, ISD 1991 some 10 yrs after NATO and USAF aircraft but scrapped at least 10 years before them. MOD is responsible for the waste of tax-payer money.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
4 days ago

So yet again, the tory party leaves the country vulnerable, by retiring aircraft, without a replacement until next year at the earliest.

The replacement aircraft then turns out to be something that was designed 54 years ago, with the more recent variant still grounded by some countries, after structural defects were discovered … oh whenever it was!

This policy of saving a few groats, goes back to the early 1980’s. It’s enough to make you weep.

Ian Parker
Ian Parker
4 days ago

Ullo ukdj, I’d say it were very Bad Planning on behalf of our MOD, just the same with the Overlap of being without Our New Carriers 4 ten yrs, n being without Jump Jets, when we could have kept the Olde Carriers, n the Harriers, untill the 35B’s were ready, instead of having to borrow Planes frum’t Yanks. Same with the the Fazing out of the Tornadoes, how come Our MOD don’t refit the Air Frames, n upgrade the Electronics just like’t Yanks?? Bleedin good Plane it were, reet? Enough said frum an Ex Shipyard Craftsman, Regards, Ian.

Johan
Johan
2 days ago

The Report doesn’t highlight that the E3s are not upgraded and the Airframes need their Checks and maintenance. so there is little point in performing the checks when the systems are outdated, same with the R1 Sentinal airframes. One of the E3s has been sold back to USAF as a training aircraft, they have been run hard like most of the RAFs fleet and are old airframes . need labour-intensive maintenance per Air Mile flown. At some point for the UK we cannot just keep them in the air, Look at the bill to keep a Lancaster flying, 707 airframe… Read more »