A RAF surveillance aircraft today (March 14) departed a UK air base after being tasked by NATO to monitor the situation in Ukraine.
The E-3D Sentry aircraft from Number 8 Squadron based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire has begun reconnaissance flights as part of the UK’s contribution to the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.
The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jet, with its distinctive black disc-shaped multimode lookdown radar, will operate under NATO control during its mission and will be tasked by NATO commanders.
The aircraft will only fly over NATO territory which includes Ukraine’s neighbours Poland and Romania.
Acting on a recommendation from the alliance’s top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO ambassadors gave the go-ahead to the AWACS flights from their home airbases at RAF Waddington and Geilenkirchen in Germany.
The RAF operates six E-3D Sentry aircraft in the airborne surveillance and command-and-control role.
The normal crew complement of 18 comprises four flight-deck crew, three technicians and an 11-man mission crew. The mission crew comprises a tactical director (mission crew commander), a fighter allocator, three weapons controllers, a surveillance controller, two surveillance operators, a data-link manager, a communications operator and an electronic-support- measures operator.
The Sentry’s roles include air and sea surveillance, airborne command and control, weapons control .
Editor: Simon Mander
Photographs: E-3D Sentry.
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2014
Source / Author: RAF