Why The Air Force Is Getting Rid Of The AWACS

Why The Air Force Is Getting Rid Of The AWACS | World War Wings Videos

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For a couple of years now, the US Air Force has been working on retiring its iconic AWACS planes. These planes are easily recognizable with their huge, 30-foot-diameter rotating radar dishes.

What is AWACS?

AWACS stands for “Airborne Warning and Control System” and first entered service in 1977. For its time, it was quite advanced.

It had a radar with a rudimentary passive electronically scanned array housed in a massive rotodome that’s 30 feet wide and 6 feet thick. 

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The system utilizes two radar faces with complete rotation once every 10 seconds – an update rate of every five seconds. Updates were made over the years like capabilities to listen to enemy electronic emissions, better communication systems, and many more. 

The New E-7

The US AWACS fleet was largely unchanged for decades until a decision was made to retire the type and replace it with a completely new plane – the E-7.

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So far, only Australia, South Korea, and Turkey have been the sole operators of this warbird. However, the United States is expected to field 26 of these planes in the near future, with deliveries scheduled as early as 2027.

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Why The E-7?

Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail is based on the Boeing 737 Next Generation design. The twin-engine aircraft is lighter than the 707 design and has a fixed AESA radar antenna instead of a rotating one.

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It can also carry up to 10 crew members at a cruise speed of 530 mph, a range of 4,000 miles, and a service ceiling of up to 41,000 ft!

No wonder the US is itching to get this new aircraft!

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