NATO AWACS arcraft have conducted 493 surveillance flights in 2023.

Since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, flights have increased, and NATO says their “vigilance is even higher”.

NATO operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft, with their distinctive radar domes mounted on the fuselage, which provide the Alliance with air surveillance, command and control, battle space management and communications. NATO Air Base (NAB) Geilenkirchen, Germany, is home to 14 AWACS aircraft.

Here are some quick facts via NATO.

  • NATO operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft equipped with long-range radar and passive sensors capable of detecting air and surface contacts over large distances.
  • The NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force (NAEW&C Force) is one of the few military assets that is actually owned and operated by NATO itself (the vast majority of military assets deployed under the NATO banner are national capabilities of individual member countries).
  • Under normal circumstances, the aircraft operates for about eight and a half hours, at 30,000 feet (9,150 metres) and covers a surveillance area of more than 120,000 square miles (310,798 square kilometres). The aircraft is capable of flying longer operations due to its air-to-air refuelling capability.
  • The fleet is currently involved in assurance measures that followed Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea in 2014, as well as in tailored assurance measures to Turkey.
  • In addition, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the fleet is currently monitoring NATO airspace in order to assure and protect Allies.
Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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farouk
farouk
17 days ago

I do wonder what would happen if the Uk was attacked and the investigation afterwards found it could have been stopped if the British military had been correctly funded. Would this be enough to see the MPs who didn’t do the job they were supposed to do in the dock and jailed?

Mike R
Mike R
17 days ago
Reply to  farouk

The RAF have two on permanent charter which is probably why Wedgetail was cut to three examples.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
17 days ago
Reply to  Mike R

The RAF does not charter NATO AWACS. As a member of the NAWEW Force , UK tasks requireing an AWACS within NATO, are put into the overall tasking requests for NATO AWACS and and missions flown according to their agreed priority and availability of NATO E3s and NATO crews. NATO would not support any UK National missions. It is likely that when the RAFs E7 are operational some or all of them will be assigned to the NATO AEWF as were the UK E3Ds.

Mike R
Mike R
17 days ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

Thanks Alabama Boy, I must have misunderstood what the NATO website was trying to say. Cheers for the info.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
17 days ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

Have the details of a long-term plan to replace NATO E3s w/ E7s been released? Same number of a/c? Greater number? 🤔🤞

Paul T
Paul T
16 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

14 E3 to be replaced with 6 E7 .

DJ
DJ
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Right now, 6 E7 will likely outperform the current 14 E3. However Australia currently operates 6, Turkey (a NATO member) 4. UK building 3 (but 5 radars ordered). 6 for mainland European NATO does not seem enough. USAF is planning to replace 31 E3 with 26 E7. The ratio’s are out of whack.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

In total, or simply the first tranche of a larger order? Hopefully, NATO will not adopt the RAF model of acquiring fewer of each succeeding generation of a/c. ,🤔🤞

Alabama boy
Alabama boy
16 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I believe 6 is a possible first step to replace 14 E3s and more might be ordered later.. Given the NATO AEW Force is financed from contributing Nations and the US is the single biggest contributor I would expect costs were a big part on the decision to buy only 6 E7s for now.. They will likely come off the yet to be established E7 production line in the US. The USAF E7 will almost certainly be the priority as they have already sent about 14 E3s to the boneyard and their E7 programme will take years to complete. I… Read more »

Frank
Frank
17 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I hope not but then having said that…. I hope they would…. every last one of them for many Decades…. Especially those from the last 30 years…… Instead though, I fear they will just live in happy retirement.

Louis
Louis
16 days ago
Reply to  farouk

That’s tricky to find out though. If the governments entire budget was on the MOD and the MOD spent all the money on defence of the UK then no attack on the UK would be possible so where do you draw the line?

Frank
Frank
17 days ago

40 years old and still valuable.