E-3 Sentry

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The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an American military airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft based on the Boeing 707 that provides all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications. It is used by countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, and NATO air defense forces. It is distinguished by the rotating disc-shaped radome above the fuselage. Production ended in 1992 after 68 had been built.[1][2]

Contents

Development

In June 1965, the United States Air Force (USAF) asked for proposals for feasibility studies into the provision of an Airborne Early Warning and Control system to replace the Air Force's existing EC-121 Warning Stars, which served in the Airborne Early Warning role, taking advantage of improvements in radar technology which allowed airborne radars to "Look Down" and detect low flying aircraft, even over land, which would previously be undetectable due to ground clutter. Contracts were given to Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed, with Lockheed being eliminated in July 1966. In 1967, a parallel program was put into place to develop the radar, with Westinghouse Corporation and the Hughes Aircraft Company being asked to compete to produce the radar for the new aircraft. In 1968 it was referred to as Overland Radar Technology (ORT) during development tests on the modified EC-121Q.[3][4] The Westinghouse Corp.'s radar antenna was going to be used whichever company won the radar competition, since the Westinghouse Corp. had pioneered in the design of high-power RF phase-shifters. The two prototype test AWACS aircraft began flights in March 1972, and these ended in July 1972.[3]

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