NATO E-3 AWACS to monitor Ukraine airspace

NATO E-3 AWACS to monitor Ukraine airspace

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Belgium: NATO's deployment of Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft over Poland and Romania will enable the alliance to monitor much of Ukrainian airspace, including the sensitive Crimea region. The aircraft will fly only above the territory of NATO members like Romania and Poland to prevent their presence being seen as an escalatory move, according to a spokesperson for NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).

Although E-3 manufacturer Boeing and its operators are guarded on the precise capabilities of the AWACS' Northrop Grumman (Westinghouse) AN/APY-2 airborne surveillance radar, the aircraft are known to be able to monitor medium-altitude aircraft at a range of at least 520 km when the E-3 is flying at its normal operational altitude of 30,000 ft. Meanwhile, NATO graphics indicate the E-3 can monitor air targets at a range of at least 650 km, and state that low flying aircraft can be monitored to a range of at least 400 km. The E-3s will accordingly be able to monitor all of western Ukraine, the capital Kiev and the Crimean peninsula, controversially seized by Russian military personnel. However, with the E-3s capabilities certain to outperform those released in the public domain, the aircraft will likely be able to monitor to some degree the entirety of Ukrainian airspace, as well as parts of Russian airspace.

Source: Janes