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Boeing E-3D Sentry AWACS

The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an AWACS aircraft based on the Boeing 707-320, used by the US Air Force, NATO countries, Royal Air Force, the French Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force.


Funding started in the 1960s, while the US Air Force searched for a replacement for the ageing EC-121 AWACS aircraft, with a 1963 requirement for up to 64 aircraft.[N 1] Boeing was chosen to construct the two airframes designated EC-137D,[1] one for Westinghouse Electric´s and another one for Hughes´s radar. Westinghouse´s design was chosen as the winner. Full scale development began on 26 January 1973.[2] Testing phase on the first E-3 Sentry began in 1975.

3 1 (13)


  • E-3A: NATO standard aircraft, developed as an improved version of the USAF Core E-3A.
  • E-3B: First 24 USAF E-3A aircraft upgraded with CC-2 computer also used on NATO aircraft.
  • E-3C: Later USAF aircraft with improved command/control capability.
  • E-3D: RAF version with Lorel Yellow Gate ESM wingtip pods and CFM-56 turbofans. Designated Sentry AEW Mk 1 in RAF service.
  • E-3F: French variant.[3]



  1. This was later reduced on economic grounds.


  1. World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 890 Sheet 62 (A-Z of Aircraft:B - Boeing Model 707 (continued) to Boring Model 707 (E-3 Sentry, E-6 Mercury and E-8 J-STARS)
  2. World Aircraft and Systems Directory - Third Edition. 2002. Reed Business Information Ltd. ISBN 0 617 01289 X Page 362
  3. WA&SD - Third edition. Page 363