- Airborne Early Warning and Control
An Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system is a
radarsystem carried by an aircraftwhich is designed to detect other aircraft. Used at a high altitude, the radars allow the operators to distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft hundreds of miles away.
AEW aircraft are used for defensive and offensive air operations. The system is used offensively to direct fighters to their target locations, and defensively to counter attacks.
Many countries have their own AEW systems, although the
E-3 Sentryand Grumman E-2C Hawkeye are the popular systems worldwide. The Sentry was built by the BoeingDefense and Space Group (now Integrated Defense Systems) and is widely considered to be an international benchmark for AEW systems. It is based on the Boeing 707 aircraft. The E-2 Hawkeye, which entered service in 1965, is arguably the most widely used AEW system. The E-3 Sentry is not strictly an AEW system, as it has far more functionality. For the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the E-3 technology has been fitted into the Boeing E-767.
United Kingdomfirst deployed an AEW capability on the Fairey GannetAEW3, using the AN/APS-20 radar. When the Gannet was withdrawn, the Royal Air Force(RAF) deployed the radars taken from the Gannets on Shackleton MR2 airframes to make the AEW2. This became the last piston engined aircraft in the RAF, and as a point of interest it was also a tail wheel aircraft. To replace this, they started to develop the Nimrod AEW.3, developed by De Havilland. However, the Nimrod AEW programme was cancelled just as the prototype completed its final trials in favor of procuring the E-3 (powered by CFM56engines) from the US.
The Russian Air Force is currently using around 15-20 Beriev A-50 and A-50U 'Shmel' in the AEW role. The Mainstay is based on the military/commercial
Ilyushin Il-76airframe, with a large non-rotating radome on the rear fuselage.
The RAAF and the
Turkish Air Forceare deploying Boeing 737 AEW&Caircraft. Unlike the E-2 and E-3, the Boeing 737 AEW&C does not have a rotodome. It will probably be marketed towards many existing E-2 customers, who would otherwise have no choice but to purchase a system intended for an aircraft carrier, due to lack of options.
Swedish Air Forceuse the S 100B Argus as their AEW platform. The S 100B Argus is based on the Saab 340with an Ericsson ErieyePS-890 radar.
Hellenic Air Force, Brazilian Air Forceand Mexican Air Forceuse the Embraer R-99with an Ericsson ErieyePS-890 radar, as on the S 100B.
In early 2006 the
Pakistan Air Forceordered six Saab 2000fitted with ErieyeAEW systems from Sweden in a deal valued roughly $1bn. In December 2006 the Pakistan Navyrequested three excess P-3 Orionaircraft equipped with Hawkeye 2000 AEW systems, the overall cost of the program is $855mn. China and Pakistan also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the joint development of Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) systems.
There are only three helicopter-based AEW platforms in existence. One is the
Royal NavySea King ASaC7 naval helicopter. It is operated from the Royal Navy's "Invincible"-class aircraft carriers. The creation of Sea King ASaC7, and earlier AEW.2 and AEW.5 is the consequence of the harsh lessons learnt by the Royal Navy task force sent to the South Atlantic in the 1982 Falklands War. The lack of AEW coverage for the task force was a major tactical shortcoming at the time.
Another helicopter is the Russian-built
Kamov Ka-31, deployed by Indian Navy on Krivak-III Frigates and reportedly used by the Russian Navy on its sole "Kuznetsov" aircraft carrier. It is fitted with E-801M Oko (Eye) airborne electronic warfare radar which can track up to 20 targets simultaneously with aerial detection range 150 km and surface warships up to 250 km. The Indian Air Forceordered three IAI Phalconsystems in 2004 that will be delivered in 2008.Fact|date=March 2008
Also India started developing its own AEW aircraft, codenamed Airavat in the late 1980s and had been halted due to a prototype crash in 1999. development started again after the selection of a fresh platform.
The most modern helicopter-based AEW is the
AgustaWestland EH101AEW of the Italian Navy.
Some AEW systems feature additional command and control functionality, Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. These are often referred to as Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) systems.
The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) is an aircraft system designed to carry out
surveillance, and C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions.
Modern AWAC systems can detect aircraft from up to 400
km(250 miles) away, well out of range of most surface-to-air missiles except the Russian SA-5and S-400. In air-to-air combat, AWAC systems can communicate with friendly aircraft, extend their sensor range and give them added stealth, since they no longer need their own active radar to detect threats. However, by the nature of radar, AWACS aircraft can be detected by opposing forces beyond its own detection range. This is because the outgoing pulse reduces in strength the further it travels. Therefore, a signal which is intended to go out and be reflected back must be strong enough to cover twice the distance between the sender and the target.
History of Development
In 1944 the U.S. Navy ordered the development of a radar system that could be carried aloft in an aircraft. In February 1944 under Project Cadillac and a prototype system was built and flown in August on a modified TBM Avenger torpedo bomber. Tests proved successful, with the system being able to detect low flying formations at a range in excess of 100 miles. After that the US Navy ordered production of the TBM-3W, the first AEW aircraft to enter service. TBM-3Ws fitted with the AN/APS-20 radar entered service in March 1945, with some 36-40 eventually being constructed. In 1958 the Soviet Tupolev Design Bureau was also ordered to design an AWACS aircraft.Fact|date=March 2008 After trying to fit the projected radar instrumentation in a
Tu-95and a Tu-116, the decision was made to use the Tu-114fuselage instead. This solved all the problems with cooling and operator space that existed with the narrower Tu-95 and Tu-116 fuselage. To adhere to the flight range requirements, the plane was fitted with an air-to-air refuelling receiver. The Tu-126 was used by the Soviet Air Force, until being replaced by the Beriev A-50.
Boeing/Westinghouse AWACS system
This is a specific system with a rotating radar dome "rotodome"
radomedesigned and built by Boeing(Defense & Space Group) using Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) radar. It is mounted on either the E-3 Sentryaircraft ( Boeing 707) or more recently a modified Boeing 767. Only the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forcehas the 767 version, calling it the E-767.
Elta/Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) PHALCON Radar
Israel has developed the IAI/Elta
Phalconsystem, which uses an AESA(Active Electronically Scanned Array) in lieu of a rotodome antenna. The system was the first such advanced radar placed into service. The original Phalconwas mounted on a Boeing 707platform [ [http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/phalcon/Phalcon.html B707 Phalcon, “Israeli Weapons.com”] ] and developed for the Israeli Defense Force and for export. A Boeing 707 Phalconsystem was delivered to Chile in 1993 where it is known as the “Condor”.
The second generation improvement of the
Phalconsystem was accomplished in the development of the Israeli ground based IAI EL/M-2080"Green Pine" radar target tracking system used by the Israeli Defense Force. This system along with the Arrow missilehas been exported to several countries.
Israel has recently put in service a third generation variant of the
Phalconsystem on a highly modified Gulfstream G550[ [http://www.ocnus.net/cgi-bin/exec/view.cgi?archive=102&num=26121, “Israel Now Flying New Phalcon AWACS”, “By Aero News 2/20/06 on OCNUS.NET”, “Oct 4, 2006”] ] aircraft. Equipped with a more efficient and compact version of this airborne radar made by the ELTA division of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), the Gulfstream 550CAEW is a long endurance, high altitude, rapid pop-up and descent system with unobstructed 360 degree coverage.
List of AEW&C aircraft
* PB-1W Flying Fortress
Boeing 737 AEW&C
* TBM-3W2 Avenger
EC-121 Warning Star
* Gulfstream G550
* Neptune MR.1
AWACS aircraft are in service with the USAF, U.S. Navy,
NATO, Russian Air Force, the RAF, French Air Force, Indian Air Force, Saudi Arabia, Greeceand the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Modern AESA/MESA equipped aircraft are in service with Chile [ [http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/phalcon/Phalcon.html B707 Phalcon of Fuerza Aerea de Chile, “Israeli Weapons.com”] ] , the Israeli Air Force [http://www.gulfstream.com/news/releases/2006/_images/CAEW_SEMA_inflight_highres.jpg] and planned for Singapore [ [http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/news_and_events/nr/2007/apr/23apr07_nr/23apr07_fs3.html MINDEF - News - Factsheet - G550 - Airborne Early Warning (23 Apr 07) ] ] , India, the Royal Australian Air Force, Turkey, and Korea.
The Israel (IAI) radar system has been sold to Chile [ [http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/phalcon/Phalcon.html B707 Phalcon of Fuerza Aerea de Chile, “Israeli Weapons.com”] ] [ [http://www.ocnus.net/cgi-bin/exec/view.cgi?archive=102&num=26121, “Israel Now Flying New Phalcon AWACS”, “By Aero News 2/20/06 on OCNUS.NET”, “Oct 4, 2006”] ] and
India. Australia, Turkeyand South Koreaare to deploy versions of the AEW&C Boeing 737variant, using the Northrop GrummanMESA (Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array) radar system.
Royal Australian Air Force- Has six Boeing 737 AEW&Caircraft on order with an option for a seventh. The aircraft uses the Northrop GrummanMESA (Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array) radar system. Aircraft are undergoing trials and the RAAF will take delivery of the first aircraft in 2008.
Brazilian Air Forceoperates five Embraer R-99A Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft, equipped with the Erieye airborne radar from Ericsson AB of Sweden.
Chilean Air Forceoperates a Boeing 707aircraft which was highly modified to accept the original version of the conformal ELTA/IAF PhalconAESA radar.
;PRCSince the year 2000, the
PLA Air Forcehas developed its own AWACS system, called - KJ-2000, which two modified Ilyushin Il-76s have been converted into Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.
Egyptian Air Forceoperates four Grumman E-2 Hawkeyeaircraft.
French Air Forceoperates four Boeing E-3 Sentryaircraft.
French Navyoperates three Grumman E-2 Hawkeyeaircraft.
Hellenic Air Forcehas ordered four Embraer R-99A Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft. Two of them have been delivered to 380 Moira (squadron) and the remaining two are currently undergoing acceptance test flights.
;INDFrom 1987, India has worked on an experimental
AEWsystem codenamed "Airavat"; the project itself is called Airborne Surveillance Platform. HAL customized two HS-748 airframes with pylons and rotodome, but the project itself ground to a halt in 1999, following a Prototype crash, killing 8 scientists aboard. As of 2004, the project has been revived with new platform and an AESA Radar instead of a rotating one.
India ordered 3 Phalcon AWACS from Israel with a cost of about 1.5 billion with the delivery to end in 2008. This has been delayed and the first aircraft is expected in early 2009. The IAF cleared proposal to buy 3 more Phalcon AWACS in 2008.
As part of its "Eye in the sky" project, India is developing an AESA radar which will be integrated on the Embraer EMB-145 aircraft. [ [http://www.hindu.com/2007/08/29/stories/2007082961591900.htm DRDO seeks partner for early warning and control system programme] ] The AWACS will be inducted by 2011. [ [http://www.india-defence.com/reports/1068 DRDO's indeginious AWAC systems by 2011] ]
Indonesian Air Forceordered three modified 737-200s, fitted with SLAMMAR (Side-looking Multi-mission Airborne Radar), designated Boeing 737-2x9 Surveiller . They are used as both AEWACS and Maritime reconnaissance (MPA). The aircraft were delivered between May 1982 and October 1983. [Bowers 1889, pp. 498–499.]
Islamic Republic of Iran Air Forceis believed to operate its American built F-14 Tomcats primarily in an AEWACS role, guiding other fighters to targets. Due to the American embargo on Iran, replacement parts and weapons systems for the F-14 are in short supply, making any combat losses almost impossible to replace. Only about twenty-five are believed to still be operable. ;ISR Israelhas developed the IAI/Elta Phalconsystem, which uses an AESA ( Active Electronically Scanned Array) in lieu of a rotodome antenna. The system was first mounted on a Boeing 707 platform [ [http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/phalcon/Phalcon.html B707 Phalcon, “Israeli Weapons.com”] ] .
Israel has recently put in service a variant of the
Gulfstream G550[ [http://www.ocnus.net/cgi-bin/exec/view.cgi?archive=102&num=26121, “Israel Now Flying New Phalcon AWACS”, “By Aero News 2/20/06 on OCNUS.NET”, “Oct 4, 2006”] ] aircraft, equipped with a more compact version of this airborne radar systems made by the ELTA division of Israel Aircraft Industries(IAI). The Gulfstream version is called the “Eitam”, and will be flown by the Nachshon squadron. The first of three Gulfstream G-550 AWACS was delivered to the Israeli Ministry of Defense in 2006 and the other two will follow over the next 2-3 years. Elta will install the radar and command and control equipment into three aircraft, worth over $500 million USD. The Gulfstream G-550 planes were funded with US military aid money. The Eitam will provide a radar picture of the combat zone, including SSR, and communicate with other aircraft and ground stations. [ [http://www.gulfstream.com/news/releases/2006/060920.htm Gulfstream Delivers Conformal Airborne Early Warning System (CAEW) G550 Aircraft to Israeli Ministry of Defense (Press release 2006)] ] [ [http://www.defense-update.com/products/n/nachshon.htm Israeli Air Force Nachshon Gulfstream G550 CAEW, “Defense Update – International Online Defense Magazine”, “Year 2006 Issue: 2”] ]
Japan Air Self Defense Forceoperates 4 E-767 Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (AWACS) and 13 Grumman E-2 Hawkeye in the Airborne Early Warning(AEW) role.
Republic of Koreahas concluded a deal to order four Boeing 737 AEW&Caircraft. South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA) announced on 9 November 2006 the decision to procure airborne early warning system aircraft from Boeing for its E-X Program. The contract was concluded at 1.59 billion USD, with the first aircraft to arrive in 2011, and the remaining three in 2012. [ [http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200611/200611090009.html Final Nod to Boeing Completes E-X Project at Last, The Chosun Ilbo] ]
Mexican Air Forceoperates one Embraer R-99A And the Navy operates 3 E-2C Hawkeyes Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft.
;North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)NATO has 17 E-3 Sentry aircraft, stationed in Geilenkirchen,
;PAKPakistan Air Force have ordered six Saab-2000 AEW&C aircraft with the Erieye radar. Pakistan Navy have also ordered 3 P-3 with hawkeye 2000 system. The AWACS's will be inducted by 2009-2010. Pakistan air force has also signed (MOD) with China on development of AEW&C.frist one receive in march 28 2008
;RUSIn service with the former
Soviet Union, the BerievA-50 "Mainstay" is an AWACS conversion of the standard IlyushinIl-76 "Candid" strategic airlifter. Several foreign countries ( Chinaand India) have also used the Il-76 as the base platform for their own airborne radar needs.
Royal Saudi Air Forceoperates five Boeing E-3 Sentry aircraft.
;SINRecently, the Ministry of Defence of Singapore
MINDEFannounced that its old E2-C's will be replaced by four Gulfstream G-550-AEW airplanes [ [http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/news_and_events/nr/2007/apr/23apr07_nr/23apr07_fs3.html, “Factsheet: G550 – Airborne Early Warning”, “MINDEF Singapore”, "23 April 2007"] ] , as part of the modernization of the SAF: "The G550-AEW will enhance the creation of the RSAF's air situation picture and its identification capability as part of the networked air defence system. The new platforms will provide improved surveillance for the RSAF, and enhance Singapore's air defence capability." The first of four G550’s is to be delivered in 2008 and all are expected to be operational by 2010 [ [http://www.defense-update.com/newscast/0507/news_080507.htm#g550 "Singapore to Replace Hawkeye With G550 AEW"] ] The acquisition of the G550-AEW is part of the transformation of the 3rd Generation SAF.
;SWEIn 1994 the first
Saab 340was delivered for modification to accept an Ericsson Erieye(PS-890) [ [http://www.avrosys.nu/aircraft/Spaning/223S100B.htm "S 100B Argus -- SAAB 340B AEW (1997- )"] ] . Six aircraft were so modified and four were fitted with the Erieye radar. In 1995 the modified aircraft, operated by the Swedish Air Force, was designated the S-100B Argus [ [http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/text/100argus.html “Saab 340 AEW”] ] [ [http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/s100b_argus/ “S100B Argus Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft, Sweden”, (Airforce-Technology.com)] ] .
;THAAs a part of
Gripenprocurement program, Royal Thai Air Forceorders 1 S-100B Argus and has an option for another one. S-100B is the Saab 340equipped with Erieye Radar System, PS-890. The first aircraft will be delivered in 2010. Make Thailand's the second country in South East Asiaafter Singaporeto operate AEW&C aircraft. [ [http://www.gripen.com/en/MediaRelations/News/2008/080211_th_signing.htm Gripen International] Gripen agreement between Sweden and Thailand signed.]
Turkish Air Forcehas four Boeing 737 AEW&Caircraft on order, with option for two more. The aircraft uses the Northrop GrummanMESA (Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array) radar system. In 2007 the first aircraft was completed and underwent test flights in Seattle. The MESA radars of the other three aircraft are currently being installed in Turkey by the Turkish Aerospace Industries. The Boeing 737 AEW&Cis considered among the most modern AWACS systems. [ [http://www.boeing.com.au/BAL/DIVNetworkEnabledSystems/peaceEagle.html Boeing Australia: Peace Eagle] ] [ [http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/737aewc/ Air Force Technology: Boeing 737 AEW&C] ]
Royal Air Forcehas seven Boeing Sentry AEW1 aircraft based at RAF Waddington.
Royal Navyhas 13 airborne surveillance and area control Westland Sea Kingvariants which are deployed on the Royal Navy's Invincible class aircraft carriers.
United States Air ForceThe USAF operates 33 Boeing E-3B and E-3C Sentry aircraft, of which one is a dedicated test bed and 32 are on active duty. The majority of the USAF E-3s are located at Tinker Air Force Basein Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and have been operational since 23 March 1977.
United States NavyThe United States Navyuses the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye in the shipborne Airborne Early Warning(AEW) role.
United States Customs ServiceThe United States Customs Servicestarted surveillance operations using four Lockheed Martin P-3 Orions in 1993. The Orions had been modified [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/p-3-aew.htm "P3 AEW", (Globalsecurity.Org)] ] to add a Hawkeye AEW rotodome with an APS-125 radar and mission system, later the aircraft were retrofitted with the APS-138 system [ [http://www.geocities.com/lucktam/awacs/p3aew.htm “The Lockheed Martin P-3 AEW Orion”] ] [ [http://www.topedge.com/panels/aircraft/sites/kopack/p3aew.html “US customs Service at the Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics Center”] ] .
Airborne Surveillance Platform
US/Saudi AWACS Sale
* [http://www.awacs-spotter.nl NATO AWACS-Spotter Geilenkirchen website]
* [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/e-3.htm FAS.org E-3 Sentry information]
* [http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/infoelect/awacs/index.html Boeing AWACS website]
* [http://www.aewa.org Airborne Early Warning Association website]
* [http://legion.wplus.net/guide/air/m/tu126.shtml TU-126 MOSS AWACS - history of development] - in Russian
* [http://hist.rloc.ru/lobanov/3_01.htm Aiborne radar "Gneis-2"] - in Russian
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