Sentry AEW1 Military Aircraft
When the RAF required a replacement for it's old Avro Shackleton AEW aircraft, it initially tried to modify the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod aircraft but radar development problems and unsatisfactory results led to the decision of the UK, France, and Saudi to purchase a variant of the American Boeing E-3 Sentry powered by more powerful and efficient CFM56 turbofan engines. The use of CFM56 turbofans resulted in significant increase in power, speed, range, endurance and service ceiling over the original aircraft. Sixteen CFM56 powered Boeing E-3 Sentrys were produced, seven for the Royal Air Force, five for the Saudi Air Force and four for the French air force.
The Sentry AEW1 entered service in 1991 and is the RAF's designation of it's CFM56 turbofan version of the American Boeing E-3D Sentry, it is an airborne surveillance and command-and-control role aircraft based around a highly modified commercial Boeing 707-320B airliner airframe. The large fuselage mounted rotating ray-dome contains a Northrop Grumman AN/APY-2 high-performance multimode lookdown radar with a maximum range of 300 nmls at the aircraft's cruse altitude. The Sentry AEW1 is able to be re-fuelled by either the US flying boom or UK probe and drogue systems. The RAF currently has two Boeing Sentry AEW1 squadrons equipped with Sentry AEW1 aircraft, 8 Sqn and 23 Sqn based at RAF Waddington, they have been used operationally in both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Boeing Sentry AEW1 Specifications:
- Crew: Flight crew: 4
- Mission crew: 14
- Capacity: 35 people
- Length: 152 ft 11 in (46.61 m)
- Wingspan: 145 ft 9 in (44.42 m)
- Height: 41 ft 4 in (12.6 m)
- Wing area: 3,050 ft² (283.4 m²)
- Empty weight: 185,000 lb (83,990 kg)
- Loaded weight: 335,000 lb (152,090 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 334,000 lb (151,636 kg)
- Engines: Four 24,000 lbf (107 kN) CFM International CFM-56-2A-3 turbofans
- Maximum speed: Mach 0.78 (955 km/h)
- Cruise speed: Mach 0.72
- Range: 5,000 NM (8,046 km) (10 hr)
- Endurance: 11 hours
- Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,106 m)
Boeing Sentry AEW1 Armament:
- Can be fitted with air-to-air missiles for self defence
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