A Turkish Air Force E-7T, flying from Geilenkirchen Air Base for the first time, acted as the airborne command and control post for fighter activities above the Baltic Sea Region during NATO’s multinational exercise Ramstein Alloy 22-1, 11-12 Apr, 22, say the Alliance here.

NATO say that the Ramstein Alloy exercise happens three times per year and offers training to enhance the Quick Reaction Alert capabilities in the Baltic region.

“Participation by the Turkish E-7T aircraft and crew marks their third visit to this region and the first time they have deployed to Geilenkirchen Air Base in Germany. Having a NATO Ally from the South operating in the Northern part of Europe builds important relationships for the future.”

The E-7T aircraft, based on a 737-700 commercial plane, has an advanced radar and is capable of detecting air and maritime targets simultaneously, Britain is also buying some of this type.

“With the fusion of all this information, we produce the Recognized Air Picture or RAP,” said mission commander Lieutenant Colonel Sedar Cagirdar. He went on to explain that the E-7T has 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles, where highly trained operators can detect, identify and track objects with the long-range radar and passive sensor.

Sharing the RAP with all stakeholders, including Partner nations Sweden and Finland, is a key part of the Exercise. Practising these procedures “ensures NATO remains ready for the Air Policing mission and can safeguard the skies across the Baltic Region”.

“Ramstein Alloy is an opportunity to work with Allies, side-by-side in order to enhance interoperability,” said Colonel Sertac Seymen, E-7T Squadron Commander.

You can read more from NATO on this here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jay R
Jay R
4 days ago

The RAF, with a vast territory to cover (the North Sea), will have 3 E-7s in it’s fleet. It’s predecessor, the E-3D, numbered 7. Why such a dramatic reduction in airframes? A better option maybe would of been a fleet of 9 E2D aircraft, they are compatible with the hose and drogue system. The RAFs P8s and E7s can’t be refuelled by RAF tankers.

Last edited 4 days ago by Jay R
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

There is also the capability gap – E-3D was retired in Sep 2021 and E-7 does not start to come in till Dec 2023. Why have capability gaps? It’s so risky.

Three airframes is crazy – I doubt we would have all 3 serviceable at all times, probably two.

Vast territory? The RAF has global remit and an AOR may be over a much bigger area than the North Sea, large though that is.

Jay R
Jay R
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Exactly, 3 would be enough to support UK QRA, as for the rest of the world?

johan
johan
51 minutes ago
Reply to  Jay R

As the E3s have not been supporting the QRAs for quite some time, the allies Land based radars.
E7s are more a mobile force where you dont have a land based system.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham, you do realise that we have other assets which perform overlapping roles right, it’s called progress. So every 10 or 20 years when we replace something if we replaced it with the same thing and thosame numbers, we would still be flying Phamtoms!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Many on this site are transfixed with numbers. And forget about capability. Or have any concept of budgets.

DMJ
DMJ
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

As usual you are the voice of sanity and reason.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  DMJ

Thanks mate. 👍

johan
johan
46 minutes ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

i know its very strange, USA fleet of 34 E3s is due to be replaced with 20 Airframes.
Modern radars are a huge step over a design built in the 70s,

F35s kill ratio over a Typhoon is 15 to 1 based on its radar and computing power, as long as a Typhoon doesn’t get within range of a dog fight.

its like saying we had 300 squadrons during the ww2 but now we have 10. ?????

Mr Andrew J Poulton
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The capability gap is being filled (by prior agreement) bhy NATO aircraft

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

The North Sea, and the intire UK air defence area of responsibility is covered by ground based radars, not AEW aircraft. 7 E3s where purchased, With 6 operated, with one aircraft in maintenance. But you would have to go back in time many years when we last operated 6 E3s. We went to 3 aircraft post 2020 i think. E7 will be vastly more capable, and serviceability/availability will be much higher. But with more money available, 5 aircraft would be a better number. But with the advances in unmanned platforms, AEW is likely to go unmanned in the future, with… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

I would agree that 5 seems a sensible number.

But, as you say, assuming you can get a large enough sensor package into a drone, then network enough of them together, then perhaps you could effect an AEW picture covering a huge area that could be maintained for days on end …. The technology is intriguing and game changing.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It sure is, and probably not that far away. Stealthy UCAV’S could also operate closer to hostile airspace than manned platforms, and as you point out, incredible endurance.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Not sure a drone or even networked swarm of drones could provide AEW role.
The power/ energy requirements of advanced radar suites demand a large aircraft with jet engines.

johan
johan
44 minutes ago
Reply to  John Clark

why 5 ?? based on what

USA operates 34 and is replacing these with a fleet of 20 airframes.

what does that say about the capacity of a E3s replacements.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

I agree with your points mate. On the 3 though I worry that we are being overly reliant on a future UAV solution being made to work. I recall our DaveyB here explaining the issues with power generation for the radar. And as the 3 will be needed elsewhere and not just in the UKADR I would like to see the 5 restored with some of the extra money MoD is getting, if it hasn’t vanished down the black hole already!

DMJ
DMJ
4 days ago

As I recall it was reported that Boeing pushed the price up and we got 3 for what was originally going to be the cost of 5. Boeing trying to use the defence sector to recoup some of their losses on 737 Max and the Covid down in commercial aviation.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  DMJ

Yes, I remember that too.

johan
johan
40 minutes ago
Reply to  DMJ

Yes Boeing hooked up the price hence the 2 2nd hand and 1 new airframes. fixed price contract and Boeing tried to play a game.

USA Is looking for 20 E3s replacement airframes and if the E7s selected other Nations can piggy back that order.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago

I would definitely like to see 5 purchased mate. It simply comes down to money with this one I’m afraid. At least E7 is a world class bit of kit. And the RAF will extract every inch of capability from it.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

The price for E7 will come down if US airforce opts for the platform to replace their Sentry fleet.

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 days ago

Ah feck, I’ve been quoted! Does that mean I have to get the beers in? I think the RAF were hedging their bets on the lack of a European conflict happening within the next 10 years (sound familiar anyone?). The MESA radar on the E7 is a significant step change in capability over the Sentry’s old AN/APY-2 PESA radar. Unlike the Sentry’s, it can detect low and slow targets, along with relatively stealthy ones at a reasonable distance, along with decent maritime searching and has a pretty good synthetic aperture mapping capability. It has a better overall effective detection range… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Lol, you just did, thanks again.

Wolf
Wolf
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Yes, the E-7 has a higher capability but I do agree that 5 would be a sensible number if we did have the money. We need to remind ourselves that the decisions made are not baseless as you often remind us. There is strategy behind the planning as well as of course, a budget which must be worked with to the best of their ability.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
4 days ago
Reply to  Wolf

That is very much the case with the E7. Unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited funds, in defence or wider government spending. And what many overlook, is the operating costs of these assets. Over a 30 year service career, they get very expensive, that is were the savings really come from. 3 is better than 0. And they will perform a very wide array of tasks beyond AEW. 👍 Lets see what the future brings. Another strategic defence review could be around the corner, and things could change again. The war in Ukraine has potential highlighted what kit we really need… Read more »

Wolf
Wolf
3 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Absolutely and I can be assured with what you said that the RAF will use every inch of capability it has got.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
3 days ago
Reply to  Wolf

👍

Martin
Martin
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

The assumption in the UK and the USA is to use distributed system including UAV and satellites with AWACS aircraft only being a part of the overall system. Sea Vixen and presumably mosquito will have some form of AEW package. However E7 can be used for more than just AWACS. It may be an awesome EW platform for a start and may also have maritime surveillance capability as well as land battle space management capability and even ABM targeting solutions. We should definitely buy 5.

David
David
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Nato fields a large fleet of E-3, France flies E-3, Sweden has capable Saab built aircraft ( and might join nato). Uk has a network of ground based radar heads. 4 US Aegis destroyers provide a European BM defence , USN E2 and carrier groups permanently deploy to Europe. Flight tracker is showing continous NATO elint flights around Ukraine. Nato global hawk surveillance planes are pooled to cover capabilities that sentinel provided. I think UK airspace and approaches are well covered. More than 3 would be nice, but is probably enough for any expeditionary roles the UK does ( along… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by David
Andy A
Andy A
3 days ago
Reply to  David

I think we would all love 5 but what do we give up to get them?
We are in desperate need of armour IFV more squadron depth more lethality and so many other things

Ron
Ron
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Morning Jay, First I totally agree with your last point, we do need to do something about the RAF tankers. When I check sometimes on Globe ads, I notice a European or US tanker with our RC 135s, C-17s or P8s. I have also asked myself if it would be a good idea to have some E2Ds or Saab Globaleye aircraft. The E2s could be useful if ever our carriers got cat and trap. However as this seems unlikly then the Globaleye would be a better solution. I would at that point use the E7 for operations at a distance… Read more »

Jon
Jon
3 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Didn’t the RAF do something similar last year? In Babelfish 7 they put a command and control node on a Voyager tanker. I assume it didn’t have the extra sensors of an E3 or E7, but took an intergated picture from the sensors of other aircraft. The abiity was declared operational, so if extra C&C aircraft are needed, we have them.

As to whether sensors and full EW could also be added while it still functioned as a tanker, I don’t know. I’m sure something minimal could be fitted.

johan
johan
28 minutes ago
Reply to  Ron

Issue is with the Air Tanker Contract is its very stable and fixed terms which make it a successful contract.

converting the A330s for Boom operation was expensive and converting the surge fleet for AWACS, was expensive due to modifying aircraft that the RAF doesn’t own.

all leased aircraft that have very little in the way of modifications to the fleet, ok they are fitted with a 340 wing to allow the pipework to the wing points.

the cost implications alone made it a non starter and currently Air Tanker is well below its predicted Hours of flight.

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Isn’t this a “benefit” of buying COTS or MOTS for a current large production aircraft. We can buy some and if we like them and need more we can buy more.

Like the C17, lease 3, end up buying them, then buy some more and then some more again. Didn’t need to buy 8 initially to end up with 8 of them.

We can buy more P8 and E7 if we need them.

The initial numbers might not end up as the sum total by the end of the decade.

johan
johan
25 minutes ago

Agree as the start up cost on those numbers is higher,
P8s still in production and Australia just ordered more.

E7s if the USA orders 20 then piggy back that order.

johan
johan
53 minutes ago
Reply to  Jay R

Ok firstly you need to understand the capacity of the E-7s over the E-3s is huge, there stay on station time is only limited by pilot hours. A study by Chobham about fitting a probe was looked at, along with fitting a boom to RAF tankers. Air Tanker is well under hours by the RAF and allies call in there use, which is exchange for boom time. P8s are proving to be able to cover the same extended airspace with there 9 aircraft. but a AWACS has sort of been made redundant buy the new hi powered radars. an example… Read more »

Esteban
Esteban
4 days ago

Another UK capability That has gone away. This is becoming very concerning from a country that allegedly has one of the top five economies in the world.. if you’re relying on Turkey to do your job.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

We’re not, if you’d bothered to have read any of the other excellent posts above from other contributors 🤷🏻‍♂️

Esteban
Esteban
4 days ago
Reply to  Sean

That is a complete lie.. The UK does not own any aircraft with these capabilities. That capability left years ago. And it will not be filled again for years with less aircraft than they used to have.

Martin
Martin
4 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

That’s a lie comrade, E3 stood down in 2021 and E7 will stand up in 2023. In the interim the F35 is a highly capable platform for AEW actually better than E3.

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

The Internet is an amazing research too, try using it correctly and do some research instead of cracking one off over granny porn.

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

🤣🤣😂 Cracking one off over Granny porn, that’s random Airborne….

Andy P
Andy P
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

 instead of cracking one off over granny porn.”

😂

Very ‘niche’ mate. They all need lovin’ though and one man’s granny is another man’s GILF. 😉

johan
johan
21 minutes ago
Reply to  Esteban

E3s retired last year, UK Protected by Land based systems that provide all the early warning needed.

so the lost in capabilities is that other countries have to fill a void they have sucked out of others.

E7s enter service in 2023. 8 months time.

so i would guess you’re a LITTLE BITTER, A LITTLE SALTY, About something you lost a long time ago.

careful your keyboard doesn’t hit back Warrior.

Marius
Marius
4 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

Comrade Esteban, we are not taking the bait you are trying to tempt us with.

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  Esteban

Here we go again more incoherent comments.

Geoffi
Geoffi
4 days ago

Three airframes – like with the Rivet Joints – is a ridiculous number which ensures we can only deploy one.

Martin
Martin
4 days ago
Reply to  Geoffi

How many rivet joints do you want to deploy? One in a theatre is generally enough also we share all intel with 5 eyes so we really have more capacity than 3 aircraft.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Geoffi

The RAF has had 3 ELINT/SIGINT aircraft for decades.

It is the low of 3 ASCS aircraft that concerns me, not the Rivet numbers.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
3 days ago

Yes its a specialist area and 3 rivet joint is enough for just now. I don’t know how much of the info gathered from these are shared with the USA and vice versa. The point of while only 3 E-7 are being bought this number can be increased in the future a lot easier than the E-3. The raf E-3 were the last to be built and I don’t think it was possible to purchase more at a later date. We should get to use the nato E-3 assets as they are shared. They have lots of them. With America… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I don’t know how much of the info gathered from these are shared with the USA and vice versa.”

All. Look up UKUSA agreement, more commonly known as 5 eyes.

We are hand in glove in this area with the US, read NSA, with only a few NOFOR exceptions.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
2 days ago

NOFORN – No Foreign Nationals.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
3 days ago
Reply to  Geoffi

These are commercial 737 aircraft. Airlines fly them constantly 24/7. I don’t see why the same aircraft couldn’t do the same if the crews are there. 8 hour mission, 30-60 mins turn around, new crew and back up. Rinse and repeat as required.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
2 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Don’t forget the transit time to the orbit , which could be several hundred miles if the orbit is pushed out to give maximum warning time.. There is also the turnaround time of the systems unique to the E7 – eg – radar displays commas generators, air systems etc. Then what happens if an aircraft has to leave orbit early because of some system failure or the system fails after take-off? A back up aircraft and crew are needed for each occasion if you want to maintain 24/7 coverage. Not as easy as you think.3 aircraft would probably struggle to… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 days ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

Very detailed and excellent reply. 3 aircraft would struggle to provide a continuous patrol pattern. 5 would be a much more sustainable and viable force

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 days ago
Reply to  Geoffi

Please bear in mind that apart from the US airforce we are the ONLY other NATO country with this capability. So 3 niche but very useful aircraft is a better capability then the vast majority of our NATO allies could be bothered to deliver.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
2 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I am afraid you are incorrect . The NATO AEW Force has 14 E3As which is paid for by NATO nations and is tasked and operated by mixed NATO crews out of NAB Geilenkirchen in Germany. The UK supplies the Deputy Commander (in recognition of the UKs contribution – of declared aircraft) and the Commander position rotates between the US and German Air Force All tasking is carried out by NATO. I would guess there is at least one E3 airborne continuously overlooking Ukraine at the moment. . .

Longtime
Longtime
1 day ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

Alabama, pretty sure Bell was talking rivet joint numbers not E3 numbers

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
23 hours ago
Reply to  Longtime

Thanks You are right my apologies to Mr Bell my mistake

johan
johan
17 minutes ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

To be Fair Alabama Boy, he did state Country in his statement, NATO isnt a country.

just to correct a valid point,