The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an AWACS aircraft based on the Boeing 707-320, used by the US Air Force, NATO countries, Royal Air Force, the French Air Force and the
Boeing E-3D Sentry AWACS
Royal Saudi Air Force.


Funding started in the 1960s, while the US Air Force searched for a replacement for the ageing EC-121 AWACS aircraft, with a 1963 requirement for up to 64 aircraft.[N 1] Boeing was chosen to construct the two airframes designated EC-137D,[1] one for Westinghouse Electric´s and another one for Hughes´s radar. Westinghouse´s design was chosen as the winner. Full scale development began on 26 January 1973.[2] Testing phase on the first E-3 Sentry began in 1975.

3 1 (13)


  • E-3A: NATO standard aircraft, developed as an improved version of the USAF Core E-3A.
  • E-3B: First 24 USAF E-3A aircraft upgraded with CC-2 computer also used on NATO aircraft.
  • E-3C: Later USAF aircraft with improved command/control capability.
  • E-3D: RAF version with Lorel Yellow Gate ESM wingtip pods and CFM-56 turbofans. Designated Sentry AEW Mk 1 in RAF service.
  • E-3F: French variant.[3]



  1. This was later reduced on economic grounds.


  1. World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 890 Sheet 62 (A-Z of Aircraft:B - Boeing Model 707 (continued) to Boring Model 707 (E-3 Sentry, E-6 Mercury and E-8 J-STARS)
  2. World Aircraft and Systems Directory - Third Edition. 2002. Reed Business Information Ltd. ISBN 0 617 01289 X Page 362
  3. WA&SD - Third edition. Page 363

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