The E-3 Sentry, the fleet of which were retired from Royal Air Force service last year, declared an emergency whilst in flight.
The incident took place around 11:45am, when the aircraft declared an emergency by ‘squawking 7700’, more about that below.
The aircraft has squawked 7700, declaring an emergency.
— George Allison (@geoallison) January 18, 2022
A Twitter used heard the aircraft, callsign SOLEX01, transmit:
“PAN PAN PAN. Auxillary system loss. Dumping fuel in North Sea soon, then heading to Waddington.”
It has declared a PAN PAN within last 20 mins hence the turnaround.
— Col_McGowan (@mm0ndx) January 18, 2022
What is the significance of “Squawking 7700”?
Captain Hoke is a Boeing 757/767 captain for a package express airline and also runs the website AeroSavvy, he had this to say.
“Declaring an emergency means the crew determines they have an ‘urgency’ or ‘distress’ situation. “Urgency” means the crew is concerned about the safety of the flight and needs timely (but not necessarily immediate) assistance. A ‘distress’ condition means that the flight is in serious and/or imminent danger and requires immediate assistance”.
Retired but still flying?
The most likely reason is to retain skills amongst the crew in preparation for the types replacement, the E-7 Wedgetail, coming into service.
The RAF’s E-3 Sentry airborne early warning aircraft fleet was retired in September with their replacement not due until 2023. The UK will rely on the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force to plug the gap.
What is the status of Wedgetail?
“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 above.