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-   -   E-3D Final Sortie (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/641956-e-3d-final-sortie.html)

Gordon Brown 4th Aug 2021 18:49

E-3D Final Sortie
 
Local news reporting the final E-3D flight at RAF Waddington, and no replacement until 2023. A big capability gap.

But hey, let's obsess about women's hair on the military aircrew forum.

downsizer 4th Aug 2021 19:00


Originally Posted by Gordon Brown (Post 11089784)
on the military aircrew forum.

Mate - do you have a link to that forum??? This is for history and nostalgia...! ;)

Ninthace 4th Aug 2021 19:03


Originally Posted by Gordon Brown (Post 11089784)
Local news reporting the final E-3D flight at RAF Waddington, and no replacement until 2023. A big capability gap.

But hey, let's obsess about women's hair on the military aircrew forum.

Link here
https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2021/08/...final-mission/

Stuck On The Ground 4th Aug 2021 19:29


Originally Posted by downsizer (Post 11089787)
Mate - do you have a link to that forum??? This is for history and nostalgia...! ;)

Yes, cue the, "When I was on Vulcans at Waddington" posts.

Wensleydale 4th Aug 2021 19:47


Originally Posted by Gordon Brown (Post 11089784)
Local news reporting the final E-3D flight at RAF Waddington, and no replacement until 2023. A big capability gap.

But hey, let's obsess about women's hair on the military aircrew forum.


Although the Sentry is assigned to the NATO AEW&C Force and tasked by them. The RAF own the aircraft and the crews, but have little input into their use unless formally requested for National Tasking. In the meantime, the NATO Component of the AEW&C Force with E-3As at Geilenkirchen is more than capable of taking up the slack in tasking until the arrival of Wedgetail which will also be NATO assigned. No capability gap at all.

SASless 4th Aug 2021 19:53

Bummer being a part of a Joint Force sometimes. isn't it?

But...at other times it is a blessing.

The RAF did without ASW capability until the P-8's started arriving....perhaps this waiting period shall not be as. long.

Stuck On The Ground 4th Aug 2021 20:01


Originally Posted by Wensleydale (Post 11089805)
Although the Sentry is assigned to the NATO AEW&C Force and tasked by them. The RAF own the aircraft and the crews, but have little input into their use unless formally requested for National Tasking. In the meantime, the NATO Component of the AEW&C Force with E-3As at Geilenkirchen is more than capable of taking up the slack in tasking until the arrival of Wedgetail which will also be NATO assigned. No capability gap at all.

Why buy Wedgetail then? Genuine question.

Wensleydale 4th Aug 2021 20:35


Originally Posted by Stuck On The Ground (Post 11089811)
Why buy Wedgetail then? Genuine question.

It is a long historical answer. Back in the 1970s, when the NATO AEW Force was mooted, the force was to consist of all the NATO Nations contributing crews (including UK) with 24 E-3A aircraft based in the UK (base not decided but probably Fairford or Brize). However, discussions/arguements about costings/posts etc led to a delay in the signing of the agreement, and the UK stated that if not signatures were forthcoming then the UK would pull out of the multinational crews and go its own way (we were scrapping the RN Carriers and needed AEW to replace the Shackletons which were a stop gap until modern AEW arrived). The Germans realised that if the UK pulled out then they would get the airbase and associated monies, and so didn't sign. The UK pulled out and a few months later the rest of NATO signed up as well. The UK was to get six E-3A aircraft as the UK Component of the AEW Force and the remaining nations bought 18 E-3As and based them at Geilenkirchen. The UK aircraft would be NATO assigned and tasked as part of the Force..

Then came the politics in the UK. The 1970s was a time of left wing agitation with the Unions trying to run the Country: as a result, the MOD put a tender out for a UK Company to supply the AEW Aircraft for the UK Component rather than buying Boeing (the Gov't knowing that none of the UK companies had any proposals acceptable). Indeed, GEC/Marconi took the funds allocated for the production of the UK AEW Aircraft and rolled out their Comet testbed for the Tornado F2 AI Radar (which didn't work either). Just before the decision was made however(with everyone knowing that we would buy the E-3A), Ted Heath called a snap General Election which he lost. With a weak union dominated Labour Government in power, they were forced to buy British and not American and so the Nimrod AEW3 was born. GEC/Marconi gulped: they didn't have a product but never mind because they were offered a Cost Plus contract: all of the development costs plus profit for the company. In reality, the longer it took to develop the aircraft then the more money the company made.

Long story cut short. We eventually bought the E-3D but was still contractually obliged to be part of the NATO AEW Force. NATO threw a great deal of money at data-link infrastructure for Europe, and so the UK benefited from the deal. We are still contractually obliged to be part of the NAEW Force and so we will buy Wedgetail.

Mr N Nimrod 4th Aug 2021 23:32


Originally Posted by Wensleydale (Post 11089819)
It is a long historical answer. Back in the 1970s, when the NATO AEW Force was mooted, the force was to consist of all the NATO Nations contributing crews (including UK) with 24 E-3A aircraft based in the UK (base not decided but probably Fairford or Brize). However, discussions/arguements about costings/posts etc led to a delay in the signing of the agreement, and the UK stated that if not signatures were forthcoming then the UK would pull out of the multinational crews and go its own way (we were scrapping the RN Carriers and needed AEW to replace the Shackletons which were a stop gap until modern AEW arrived). The Germans realised that if the UK pulled out then they would get the airbase and associated monies, and so didn't sign. The UK pulled out and a few months later the rest of NATO signed up as well. The UK was to get six E-3A aircraft as the UK Component of the AEW Force and the remaining nations bought 18 E-3As and based them at Geilenkirchen. The UK aircraft would be NATO assigned and tasked as part of the Force..

Then came the politics in the UK. The 1970s was a time of left wing agitation with the Unions trying to run the Country: as a result, the MOD put a tender out for a UK Company to supply the AEW Aircraft for the UK Component rather than buying Boeing (the Gov't knowing that none of the UK companies had any proposals acceptable). Indeed, GEC/Marconi took the funds allocated for the production of the UK AEW Aircraft and rolled out their Comet testbed for the Tornado F2 AI Radar (which didn't work either). Just before the decision was made however(with everyone knowing that we would buy the E-3A), Ted Heath called a snap General Election which he lost. With a weak union dominated Labour Government in power, they were forced to buy British and not American and so the Nimrod AEW3 was born. GEC/Marconi gulped: they didn't have a product but never mind because they were offered a Cost Plus contract: all of the development costs plus profit for the company. In reality, the longer it took to develop the aircraft then the more money the company made.

Long story cut short. We eventually bought the E-3D but was still contractually obliged to be part of the NATO AEW Force. NATO threw a great deal of money at data-link infrastructure for Europe, and so the UK benefited from the deal. We are still contractually obliged to be part of the NAEW Force and so we will buy Wedgetail.

i am sure that is part of the story…..

Toadstool 4th Aug 2021 23:41


Originally Posted by Gordon Brown (Post 11089784)
Local news reporting the final E-3D flight at RAF Waddington, and no replacement until 2023. A big capability gap.

But hey, let's obsess about women's hair on the military aircrew forum.

Capability gaps are the norm where one doesn’t have unlimited resources or money.

MR2 out of service. Seed corn until P8.
Nimrod R1 out of service. Co-manning until UK RJ.
E3-D out of service. Train on E-7 in Aus until UK wedge tail is ready.
Harrier out of service. Gap until F-35

NutLoose 5th Aug 2021 09:56


Originally Posted by Stuck On The Ground (Post 11089797)
Yes, cue the, "When I was on Vulcans at Waddington" posts.

Meanwhile to give folks something to do.....



https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/n...ington-5710415

https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2021/07/...k-for-repairs/

Fortissimo 5th Aug 2021 11:44


Originally Posted by Wensleydale (Post 11089819)
We are still contractually obliged to be part of the NAEW Force and so we will buy Wedgetail.

Not quite. The UK made a commitment to provide a contribution in kind to NAEW, it is not a contract. We will be buying Wedgetail because the UK believes it needs a national capability for AEW&C, not because of any contract with NATO, even though the UK will remain engaged with the NAEW programme.

Aircraft would be withdrawn from NAEW for national tasking by notifying NATO, not by asking for permission. Canada, one of the original NAEW nations, gave notice and withdrew from the programme 3 or 4 years ago, which will have affected the industrial offset share arrangements.

sangiovese. 5th Aug 2021 11:49

Ill be forever grateful from having had the comfort of knowing I was working under a UK E3 controller many times over the Adriatic Iraq and Afghanistan. The best crews on a fabulous asset.

Out Of Trim 5th Aug 2021 12:49

Let’s hope we don’t need them to cover CSG21 in the South China Sea anytime soon! How much do we actually save by taking a capability gap for two years? Not a sensible decision in my opinion! 🤔

TBM-Legend 5th Aug 2021 13:57

The combat proven E-7 is a great asset and deployed to pretty much all exercises from the various Flags and Exercise Pitch Black.

Less Hair 5th Aug 2021 14:18

What will happen to those frames? Is NATO taking them or anybody else?

Just This Once... 5th Aug 2021 14:31

You mean the youngest fleet of E-3s that were brought to their airworthiness knees by an aggressively incompetent PT?

Presumably scrap value plus a few bits sold-off. The 'zero careful owners' moniker does not tend to bring in a flood of offers.

SWBKCB 5th Aug 2021 14:48

Flight report that one has been bought by the US Navy for $15m as an E-6 trainer


"The training flights expose mission aircraft to significant wear-and-tear and impact their readiness and availability,” notes PMA-271 programme manager Captain Adam Scott. “It’s a big win for the entire E-6 community,” he says of the E-3D purchase.

coughing corner 5th Aug 2021 16:39


Originally Posted by Wensleydale (Post 11089805)
In the meantime, the NATO Component of the AEW&C Force with E-3As at Geilenkirchen is more than capable of taking up the slack in tasking until the arrival of Wedgetail which will also be NATO assigned. No capability gap at all.


The only problem being the invoice for those services is in fact greater than the cost of retaining the UK fleet until original draw down date prior to the SDR. #awkward…

Still you’ll be able to watch the delivery flights when they go, does that count?

Wensleydale 5th Aug 2021 16:56


Originally Posted by coughing corner (Post 11090289)
The only problem being the invoice for those services is in fact greater than the cost of retaining the UK fleet until original draw down date prior to the SDR. #awkward…

Still you’ll be able to watch the delivery flights when they go, does that count?

There is no invoice. The E-3D was part of the NATO AEW Force - the rest of that Force at Geilenkirchen will cover it.

coughing corner 5th Aug 2021 17:09


Originally Posted by Wensleydale (Post 11090293)
There is no invoice.

Oh yes there is.

Navaleye 5th Aug 2021 17:21

Why are our aircraft so rubbish that we have to get rid of them and rely on a fleet of older NATO operated aircraft?

Davef68 5th Aug 2021 17:34


Originally Posted by SWBKCB (Post 11090239)
Flight report that one has been bought by the US Navy for $15m as an E-6 trainer

That one's been in the States for some time, presumably to give the USN the chance to give it the once over.

Always a chance the other 2/3 remaining airworthy ones could be picked up by existing CFM-56 powered 707 operators for similar duties (France, Saudi) or perhaps for conversion!

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...r-force-rc-135

Mr N Nimrod 5th Aug 2021 18:16


Originally Posted by Navaleye (Post 11090303)
Why are our aircraft so rubbish that we have to get rid of them and rely on a fleet of older NATO operated aircraft?

lack of investment

Wensleydale 5th Aug 2021 18:25


Originally Posted by Navaleye (Post 11090303)
Why are our aircraft so rubbish that we have to get rid of them and rely on a fleet of older NATO operated aircraft?

The UK aircraft may be "newer, but the mission system is much older in design with the NATO aircraft having received a mission system upgrade some years ago. The UK fleet was supposed to upgrade using the USAF E-3C Block 40-45 system. Unfortunately, at the time, the Block 40-45 system had technical problems and was slipping to the right and the MOD decided to wait and see. By the time the upgrade was "ready", it was deemed too expensive for our aircraft and the RAF's own upgrade would take place over a period of 10 years. Again, the austerity of SDR cancelled the project. By the time money was made available, it was deemed financially beneficial to buy a brand new fleet of newer aircraft rather than throw money at the old 1970s system.

Navaleye 5th Aug 2021 18:38

Thank you, sounds like a typical UK procurement success

tdracer 5th Aug 2021 19:23

Parts obsolescence is a huge problem with older aircraft - and with an electronics dominated asset like AWACS it's magnified many times.
In the 'good old days', military procurement was a major contributor to electronic components, and the component advancement wasn't nearly as rapid as today - so it was economically feasible to keep production going of otherwise obsolete components to support military and other aviation users. Today, the commercial market totally dominates the electronic component market - military and aviation are a tiny sliver of the market - and it no longer makes economic sense for a manufacturer to be making a few hundred of some obsolete component when they could be cranking out modern parts by the millions. Further, mil-spec electronics have become pretty few and far between - most military and aviation electronics use "COTS" - Commercial Off the Shelf parts that are simply screened to more rigid environmental requirements (e.g. temperature and vibration).
With something like AWACS, the cost of the electronics is actually a fairly small portion of the overall costs - it's the integration that's killer. Making all those boxes seamlessly talk to each other, while making sure the electromagnetic emissions don't interfere with other components is a massive task - made all the worse when you throw in high power radar systems.
No first hand knowledge of the E-3D, but I suspect they can no longer get the electronic bits to keep the AWACS functional, and it's cheaper to buy the Wedgetail 'off the shelf' than to create a new AWACS system from scratch.
Military aircraft seldom see 1,000 hrs/year of use, so 40 year old 707 airframes are maybe halfway through their available life, but all the AWACS systems are a different matter.

sandiego89 5th Aug 2021 19:52


Originally Posted by SWBKCB (Post 11090239)
Flight report that one has been bought by the US Navy for $15m as an E-6 trainer

A Bounce Bird sure is nice to have, especially for the large crew, small fleet assets. I think the E-8 JSTARS got or gets their bounce bird back soon.

No sense having a full up crew and fully missionized aircraft banging circuits, although I'm sure the rear crew love doing touch and gos for the nugget co-pilots after a long mission...


NRU74 5th Aug 2021 20:32


Originally Posted by sandiego89 (Post 11090348)
No sense having a full up crew and fully missionized aircraft banging circuits, although I'm sure the rear crew love doing touch and gos for the nugget co-pilots after a long mission...

What does/did a 'full up ' crew consist of normally ?

Wensleydale 5th Aug 2021 21:38


Originally Posted by NRU74 (Post 11090368)
What does/did a 'full up ' crew consist of normally ?

Usually 17-18 (depending upon the activity) although the aircraft can carry up to 34.

Flight Deck Crew:
Pilots x 2
Flight Engineer
Navigator

Mission Crew:
Tactical Director
Weapons team x 3 or 4 people
Surveillance Team x 5 People
Communications Operator
Communications Technician
Display Technician
Radar Technician


I will admit that pounding the circuit in an aluminium tube with no windows after a long sortie is not the most enjoyable pastime (also being bounced around behind a tanker for 20 minutes).

vascodegama 6th Aug 2021 06:45

It has solved the problem of running out of Air Engs before the ac with them retired.

reds & greens 6th Aug 2021 12:52

Not since the sad demise of the Nimrod MR2/R1 Fleet, has the term 'Formation Eating Team' been so callously responsible for a 75% reduction in Station Manning within Catering...

Dunhovrin 6th Aug 2021 19:50


Originally Posted by reds & greens (Post 11090700)
t'Formation Eating Team'

There’s a term I’ve not heard since my last Honker’s stew…

Mr N Nimrod 6th Aug 2021 23:12

Yep, to see the rations being hauled onto the back of an R1 really was a sight to see!

29 crew for around 8 hours is a lot of food.

RAFEngO74to09 7th Aug 2021 00:19

USN buying one of the E-3Ds for $15M to use as a trainer for the E-6B fleet.

"The aircraft will help reduce an estimated 600 flight hours and 2,400 landings/cycles per year from the E-6 mission aircraft."

PMA-271 works quickly to purchase E-6B trainer aircraft | NAVAIR (navy.mil)

Melchett01 7th Aug 2021 13:27


Originally Posted by Fortissimo (Post 11090147)
… We will be buying Wedgetail because the UK believes it needs a national capability for AEW&C, not because of any contract with NATO ...

Is 3 jets really a National capability? Hardly. It’s just enough to satisfy the contract and to buy membership of a pooled club whereby we rely on other nations to dig us out of the doo doo by deploying assets to support us when required.

I really do despair at the way things are going. Sadly the Emperor really does think he’s wearing splendid new clothes.

Asturias56 8th Aug 2021 09:08

It was originally going to be 5 Wedgetails IIRC - but then , once again, economic reality intervened

Of course the UK COULD afford 5 but then a sacred cow or three would have to suffer - say increase taxes, or do away withe pension triple lock, or cut funding for University expansion.......

WE Branch Fanatic 8th Aug 2021 21:12


Originally Posted by Wensleydale (Post 11090293)
There is no invoice. The E-3D was part of the NATO AEW Force - the rest of that Force at Geilenkirchen will cover it.

Would the NATO force have been able to cover UK commitments like when the CSG21 group was in the Mediterranean? What about operations outside of the NATO area?

Una Due Tfc 10th Aug 2021 11:08


Originally Posted by Asturias56 (Post 11091677)
Of course the UK COULD afford 5 but then a sacred cow or three would have to suffer - say increase taxes, or do away withe pension triple lock, or cut funding for University expansion.......

Or a certain ego stroking yacht....

Asturias56 10th Aug 2021 11:44

"Would the NATO force have been able to cover UK commitments like when the CSG21 group was in the Mediterranean? What about operations outside of the NATO area?"

NATO covers NATO commitments - if anyone wants to go elsewhere they have to provide their own cover - if they can afford it of course


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