The Future of AWACS: Technological Advancement or Technological Relic
Air Command and Staff College, Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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The United States maintains one of the worlds most successful Command and Control C2 platform in the E-3 AWACS aircraft. The E-3 fleet, however, is aging rapidly and with rising operational costs and no source of sustainable replacement parts. The principal purpose of this research was to discuss the future of the Air Forces E-3 Sentry fleet and the potential replacement for the next generation AWACS. Several Airborne Early Warning AEW options were accessed, utilizing the evaluation criteria including the E-3, other AEW in production, and other potential AEW concepts. After a thorough research, both a short-term solution and a long term solution was developed. The short-term solution is to the continual upgrade of the E-3G, and the long-term solution is to acquire a new AEW platform in the E-767. However, it is recommended that the Air Force pursue the purchase of the E-767. The E-767 provides the Air Force an easily upgradable platform while minimizing research and development costs associated with an entirely new platform.
- Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft