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NATO’s E-3A fleet more important than ever, says force commander

18th April 2024 - 10:27 GMT | by Damian Kemp in London


NATO E-3A operations have stepped up a notch since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: NATO)

NATO’s E-3A fleet will have been in service for more than half a century by the time of their expected retirement but a boost to the capability and conflict elsewhere have highlighted their importance.

NATO’s E-3A AWACS fleet may need to operate beyond its retirement date of 2035, depending on the introduction of replacement E-7 aircraft, and while it will have the technological capability the battle remains to sustain an ageing airframe and engines, according to NATO’s AEW commander.

The E-3As have been in service for more than four decades and as the US rapidly retires its fleet NATO is set to become the largest operator of the type with 14 aircraft in its fleet.

The platform has undergone a shift in operational concepts since the end of the Warsaw Pact but, according to

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Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp

Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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