Boeing E-3A Sentry (707-300) Aircraft Data
Photo ID 87979 by Jan Czonstke. Luxembourg NATO Boeing E 3A Sentry 707 300, LX N90448
Airborne surveillance and command, control, communications (C3) aircraft.

The Boeing E-3A 'Sentry' Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) is one of the most recognizable shapes in the sky. The E-3's job is to monitor the airspace around USAF/NATO areas of operation. The Westinghouse AN/APY-1 RADAR allows the E-3A to scan the air for up to 250 miles over the horizon. Look-down capability for low-flying aircraft, even over the ground, and high altitude modes can detect targets well above the E-3A's service ceiling.

The E-3A is derived from the Boeing 707-300 airliner. Changes include the removal of all passenger windows, the installation of in-flight refuelling equipment, rotodome, and crew escape chute. The RADAR System Improvement Program (RSIP) has added significant capability to the USAF/NATO, RSAF, RAF and French E-3 fleets. Replacing the elderly 8-bit digital components with modern, off the shelf, computers allow the electronic components of the E-3 to be maintained easier.

The E-3 has no direct replacement in it's immediate future. The Boeing 707 is no longer in production, and the proposed E-10, was axed by the U.S. Department of Defense. The E-3's RADAR and electronic package was ported to the 767 platform for the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The best hope the USAF has for the E-3 is to replace the engine with more economic units and to strengthen the existing airframes in the fleet.
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • First Flight: 5/25/76
  • Initial Service Date: 1977
  • No. Built: 57
  • No. In Service: 54 (approx.)
  • No. of Hardpoints: 0
  • Crew: 24


4 x Pratt and Whitney TF33-PW-100A turbofan at 93 kN


The E-3A carries no offensive or defensive weapons


Length: 46.61 m.
Wing Span: 44.42 m.
Wing Area: 283.4 m²
Height: 12.6 m.
Empty Weight: 73,480 kg.
Max. Weight: 156,400 kg.


Max. Speed: 855 kph
Service Ceiling: 12,500 m.
Normal Range: 7,400 km


United States (Air Force, 22), NATO (joint ops. 11), Saudi Arabia (Air Force 5)

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