Defense

August 15, 2014

AWACS upgrade achieves initial operational capability

Tags:
Darren D. Heusel
Tinker AFB, Okla.

An E-3G Sentry, an Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, sits on a flightline. In support of air-to-ground operations, Sentry crews can provide direct information needed for interdiction, reconnaissance, airlift and close air support for friendly ground forces. They can also provide information for commanders of air operations to gain and maintain control of the air battle.

The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Hostage, declared initial operational capability for the 552nd Air Control Wing’s E-3G Sentry, an Airborne Warning and Control System Block 40/45 aircraft, July 28, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

“This modification represents the most significant upgrade in the 35-plus year history of the E-3 AWACS and greatly enhances our crew members’ ability to execute the command and control mission while providing a building block for future upgrades,” said Col. Jay R. Bickley, the 552nd ACW commander.

Bickley said meeting this milestone is a testament to outstanding teamwork as evidenced with the great partnership enjoyed between the 552nd ACW, the AWACS system program office, ACC, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, or ALC, and the wing’s contracting partners.

Gordon Fitzgerald, the 552nd ACW’s director for requirements, said six Block 40/45 modified aircraft have been delivered to the 552nd ACW and two of the E-3G models have been successfully deployed in support of counterdrug operations.

He also said the wing has Block 40/45 specific parts, support equipment and technical data on hand. The wing has completed initial training and initiated a structured plan for ongoing training.

“We are confident we can deploy and support this important weapon system worldwide,” Fitzgerald said.

Brig. Gen. Gene Kirkland, the Oklahoma City ALC commander, said the complex workforce is proud to be part of an important operational milestone, but there is still much left to do to give the 552nd ACW more 40/45 capable platforms.

Bickley praised the many members of the AWACS team who made the milestone possible, adding, “This is a great asset for U.S. command and control and a milestone we can all be proud to be a part of.”

The 552nd ACW is home to the E-3, with a majority of its AWACS aircraft being housed here and the remaining aircraft split between Kadena Air Base, Japan, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

According to Fitzgerald, the entire fleet of E-3 aircraft will be upgraded by fiscal year 2020.

Known for its signature black-and-white rotating radar dome that sits on top of the aircraft, the E-3 provides all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications needed by commanders of U.S., NATO and other allied air defense forces.

In support of air-to-ground operations, the Sentry can provide direct information needed for interdiction, reconnaissance, airlift and close air support for friendly ground forces. It can also provide information for commanders of air operations to gain and maintain control of the air battle.

As an air defense system, E-3s can detect, identify and track airborne enemy forces far from the boundaries of the U.S. or NATO countries. It can direct fighter-interceptor aircraft to enemy targets. The E-3 Sentry is designed to respond quickly and effectively to a crisis and support worldwide military deployment operations.

The 552nd ACW has had a continuing presence in the Middle East, flying more than 14,000 sorties and logging more than 130,000 flying hours from 1980 to 2003. In 2003, the wing returned to Tinker AFB for a break in deployment. The break didn’t last long. In early 2007, the wing returned and re-established its presence in the region.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox

Kunsan AB hosts Exercise Max Thunder 14-2

Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox A South Korean air force F-15 Strike Eagle lands Nov. 17, 2014, during Max Thunder 14-2 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft...
 
 

Three bases identified as F-16 aggressor candidate bases

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford Jr. A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron lands at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 6 during RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1. RF-A is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation...
 
 
Air Force photograph

Arc-heated facilities at AEDC offer unique test capabilities for hypersonic programs

Air Force photograph This photo shows the arc heater H3 being test fired prior to the installation of a model injection system. The AEDC High Temperature Materials Characterization and Evaluation is unique in capability and is ...
 

 
Navy photograph

U.S. Navy commemorates C-2 Greyhound’s 50th anniversary of first flight

Navy photograph Nov. 18 marked the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Navy’s C-2A Greyhound. The “workhorse” of the fleet took to the skies Nov. 18, 1964, from Bethpage, N.Y.   For nearly 50 years, the C-2A ...
 
 

Air Force announces criteria for KC-46A Reserve basing

After extensive internal review, the Air Force on Nov. 9, released the basing criteria that will be used to select candidate bases for the first Reserve-led KC-46A main operating base. The KC-46As will begin arriving at the first Air Force Reserve-led global mobility wing in fiscal year 2019. The basing criteria under consideration include mission...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin R. Babis

The footprint of the Jolly Green Giant

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin R. Babis Airmen from the 56th Rescue Squadron tackle Capt. Robert Smith, 56th Rescue Squadron executive officer, after his fini-flight, or final flight, at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, N...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>