Royal Air Force deploys one E-3D Sentry to help in fight against ISIL

World Defense & Security News - United Kingdom
Royal Air Force deploys one E-3D Sentry to help in fight against ISIL
The Royal Air Force’s contribution to the already formidable array of coalition aircraft operating against ISIL forces was further boosted by the arrival of the E-3D Sentry aircraft in Cyprus this week. The E-3D Sentry belonging to 8 Squadron at RAF Waddington arrived at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on Tuesday 27th January and the Lincolnshire based aircraft will join other aircraft from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing operating in the area.

RAF's Boeing E-3D Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft
As well as providing an airborne command and control capability, the Sentry offers a valuable ability to direct and coordinate the huge coalition air effort and will remain in Cyprus for the next few months.

An E-3D Sentry aircraft based at RAF Waddington arrives at RAF Akrotiri to provide support to OP SHADER.

The E-3D Sentry is an extremely valuable asset to UK and NATO airpower. Aside from its operations over Iraq and Syria, it is also filling an important role with the Baltic Air Patrols countering intrusive Russian over-flights in the region.

Easily distinguished by the large circular radar antenna dish mounted on two vertical struts extending from the top of the fuselage, the seven E-3D Sentry operated by the RAF were introduced in 1990 and are flown by both 8 and 23 Squadrons at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The aircraft has also been used extensively for air and sea surveillance, weapons control and as an extensive communications platform.

The E-3D is based on the Boeing 707-320B aircraft, which has been extensively modified and updated to accommodate the various mission systems and its endurance is approximately 11 hours although this can be extended by air-to-air refuelling.

The E-3D aircraft cruises at 30,000ft and 400kts and its Northrop Grumman AN/APY-2 high-performance, multimode lookdown radar, housed in the black radome, is able to separate airborne and maritime targets from ground and sea clutter. One E-3D flying at 30,000ft can scan at distances of over 300nmls; it can detect low-flying targets or maritime surface contacts within 215nmls and it can detect medium-level airborne targets at ranges in excess of 280nmls.

The multi-mode radar provides lookdown surveillance to the radar horizon and an electronic vertical scan of the radar beam provides target elevation and beyond-the-horizon operation for long-range surveillance of medium and high-altitude aircraft. These attributes allow it to determine the location, altitude, course and speed of large numbers of airborne targets.

The E-3D Sentry has been used by the RAF in the First Gulf War in 1990, the recent coalition campaign in Libya, and the ongoing Baltic Air Patrols. The RAF currently operates a combined fleet of 6 E-3D Sentrys airborne early warning aircraft.

(Source: RAF)