Boeing E-3 SENTRY

In March 1977, the USAF’s 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing, received what would be the main AWACS aircraft of the West since then, the Boeing E-3 Sentry. This aircraft has the main mission of exercising as an Airborne Headquarters and controlling all the movements made by aircrafts, ships and missiles, both friends and enemies in a determined area. The core of the system is a modified Boeing 707-320B airliner in which was installed the Westinghouse AN/APY-1 pulse-Doppler radar and a large number of complex electronic systems. Among them were an IFF (Identification friend or foe) and an advanced communications systems resistant to ECMs, all controlled by a high-performance IBM 4PiCC-1 computer. The prototype EC-137D made its maiden flight on February 5, 1972, and the first USAF’s E-3A Sentry made its first flight on October 31, 1975. Thirty-four aircraft were delivered to the USAF, (including two EC-137D prototypes), until June 1984, and 34 more E-3 Sentry were built for NATO (18), United Kingdom (7), France (4) and Saudi Arabia (5). The whole fleet has received several updates that keep them at the forefront of AWACS aircraft in service. Currently, most of them continue in service in variants B, C, D (AEW.1) and F.

E-3 SENTRY gallery and more info


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin

United States


Boeing – Westinghouse (radar)


Airborne Early Warning aircraft

Entered service



From 17 to 35 (depending on the mission)

Combat weight

147,400 kg

Dimensions (length x wingspan x height)

46.61 x 44.42 x 12.60 meters

Wing area

283.40 m2

Power plant

4 x Pratt and Whitney TF33.PW-100/100A turbofan, 93.41 kN each

Power, (total)

373.64 kN (199,530 hp)


Max. 853 km/h – Operational 560 km/h

Ceiling, (maximum)

12,500 meters


7,400 km

Combat radius

1,600 km