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NATO looks to replace its ageing fleet of E-3A AWACS surveillance aircraft

Posted by Dylan Malyasov on


Reuters, quoting general manager of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agency that manages the AWACS fleet Michael Gschossmann, reported the alliance might switch to the E-7 Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft to replace the aging Boeing E-3A surveillance aircraft.

Michael Gschossmann told Reuters NATO could follow the lead of member states Britain and Turkey in purchasing the E-7, a newer radar plane also built by Boeing. Those aircraft, he said, were large enough to add potential new capabilities, such as operating drones for expanded surveillance, in coming years.

The E-7 is based on a Boeing 737-700, with the addition of an advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar, and 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles which can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously.

It is a highly advanced aircraft, providing an airborne early warning and control platform that can gather information from a wide variety of sources, analyse it, and distribute it to other assets.

The E-7 can:

  • control the tactical battle space;
  • provide direction for assets in the air, at sea and on land; and
  • support aircraft such as tankers and intelligence platforms.

Also, Michael Gschossmann noted that France and the United States could potentially buy E-7 planes in coming years, which could lower costs by generating larger order quantities.

“Why don’t we bet on the proven technology that we already have in the E-7 and provide NATO with a certain number of those aircraft? That would give us a basic capability that could be expanded in the future,” he said.

What do you think?