UK ex RAF Sentry USN use 640RAF Sentry AEW1 sold to US Navy

In addition to the Scramble Magazine news item of 29 October 2020, it has now officially been confirmed that Royal Air Force (RAF) Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW1, serial ZH104, has been sold to the US.

On 30 June 2021, the US Department of Defence (DoD) announced the sale in which the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) was awarded USD 15 million for the aircraft.

The Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR) will start to use the E-3D, but will not make use of its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) capability. The US Navy E-6B Programme Office (PMA-271) has purchased the E-3D (a Boeing 707-320 series with CFM56 engines and with sufficient service life -hours and cycles- remaining in order to be kept in service to 2038) to be used as an in-flight trainer.

The NAVAIR will perform flight training with the aircraft to relieve training hours of the E-6B flight hours. The B707-320 must be capable for in-flight refuelling with the US Air Force boom system. The E-3D is able to refuel in the air in both ways, with hose and drogue and with a boom entry.

Currently, the US Navy conducts all initial and recurring E-6B pilot training flights in E-6B mission aircraft. These training flights expose mission aircraft to significant unnecessary wear-and-tear and negatively impact E-6B readiness and availability. Moreover, lack of a dedicated training aircraft increases the time required to train qualified aircrews needed to execute the E-6B mission.

All work will be performed at Northrop Grumman's Lake Charles Maintenance and Modification Center (Lake Charles Airport, Louisiana), where the aircraft is already stored since January 2020, with delivery to the USN by September 2021.

Photo by UK Defence Journal

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