The E-3D variant of the AWACS is operated by a crew of 18, drawn from RAF and exchange personnel; it is configured to meet United Kingdom’s operational requirements, to maintain interoperability with Allied E-3 fleets and to maximise interchangeability with the E-3A. The E-3D Component has six E-3D aircraft; the originally procured 7th aircraft is now used as a ground based emergency trainer. The E-3D is most easily identifiable from the E-3A by the larger engine design, the refuelling probe and the presence of wingtip pods. The E-3D operates at a similar altitude to the E-3A; around 10 km, although the efficiency of its upgraded engines gives it a slightly increased maximum operating altitude.
Airborne Early Warning & Control
Airspace surveillance and early detection of airborne threats.
Command & controlCommand and control of military air units during operations and exercises.
Control of combat aircraft during operations and exercises.
Coordination of Search and Rescue operations.
Control and coordination of airspace and the aircraft present within it.
Control of ground-based airspace defence units.
Support of maritime operations
Establishing and providing a radar picture of ongoing activities within a maritime area.
Technical specificationsWingspan: 44.9 m / 147 ft 7 in
Length: 46.7 m / 153 ft 4 in
Height: 12.70 m / 41 ft 9 in
RotodomeDiameter: 9.1 m / 30 ft
Thickness: 1.8 m / 6 ft
Height: 3.35 m / 11 ft
Rotation: once every 10 seconds
Radar coverage: One E-3A flying at 30,000 ft / 9,150 m has over 312,000 km² in its field of view. Three E-3As in overlapping orbits can provide complete coverage of Central Europe. An E-3A can detect low flying targets within 400 km or 215 nautical miles; and at medium altitude targets within 520 km or 280 nautical miles.
Power plant: Four CFM56-2A-3 twin spoolbypass turbo jet engines
Speed: More than 800 km / 500 miles per hour
Operational altitude: Above 9,150 m / 30,000 ft
Maximum take-off weight: 147,429 kg / 325,000 lbs
Fuel capacity: 94,124 liters / 73,913 kg or 23,915 gallons / 155,451 lbs
Endurance: More than 10 hours (unrefueled).
Flight crew2 Pilots
1 Flight Engineer
Mission crew1 Tactical Director
1 Fighter Allocator
3 Weapons Controllers
1 Surveillance Controller
1 Data Link Manager
2 Surveillance Operators
1 Electronic Support Measures Operator
1 Communications Technician
1 Communications Operator
1 Radar Technician
1 Display Technician
Total number can vary for a specific mission.