The first Boeing E-3D Sentry of the Chilean Air Force (FACh) arrived in the South American country on July 27, from the United Kingdom.
The FACh acquired three second-hand Air Control and Early Warning Aircraft (AEW&C) aircraft from RAF (Royal Air Force) stocks, but only two jets are in flight condition – the third aircraft will serve as a source of parts for the others.
Thanks to the arrival of the E-3D Sentry, FACh can replace the old Boeing EB-707 Condor, an AEW&C aircraft that was decommissioned this year after serving for more than two decades in the country.
“The new capabilities (of the E-3D Sentry) will allow its use to be expanded in various situations where it is necessary to maintain control of the airspace, where operations are carried out with institutional, combined or joint means, such as: catastrophes, emergencies and search and rescue operations, both by aircraft and vessels, autonomously or in conjunction with other institutions,” the FACh said on Twitter.
Derived from the old Boeing 707 jetliner, the E-3 Sentry has a powerful radar mounted on top of the fuselage. The rotating antenna is capable of tracking the movements of aircraft, land vehicles and vessels over 600 km away, anticipating possible enemy movements and coordinating attack groups, providing information to allied fighters or data to guide missiles.
The British E-3D Sentry, unlike those used by the US Air Force (USAF), were re-engineered with the CFM-56 turbofan, more economical and powerful.
The Chilean Air Force was the first in Latin America to operate air control and early warning aircraft, with the introduction of the Boeing 707 Condor in 1994. Later, other countries that also joined this capability were Brazil and Mexico, whose air forces have the Embraer EMB-145 AEW&C in their fleets.