Updated: Jun 7, 2022
We are pleased to annunce that Lockeed U-2 and Boeing E-3 Sentry are now in our fleet!
Lockheed U-2 "Dragon Lady" is single-jet engine, long-range and high-altitude Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Intelligence aircraft, with a wide variety of sensors, these include: electro-optic sensors including CCD cameras; ASARS-2 SAR radar; a signals intelligence suite known as Senior Glass, which includes Senior Spear Comint and Senior Ruby Elint systems; and data uplink systems Senior Span and Senior Spur. A cockpit modernisation programme called RAMP (Reconnaissance Avionics Maintainability Program) was completed in 2007, with the first upgraded U-2S aircraft delivered in April 2002.
All U-2 aircraft have been upgraded to U-2S standard and fitted with the General Electric F118-GE-101 engine, which is lighter and smaller than the previously fitted Pratt and Whitney J75-P-13 non-afterburning turbojet engine. The Dragon Lady has an initial climb rate of 15,000ft/min to around 25,000ft and then uses a lower climb rate to achieve an altitude of 70,000ft. A typical reconnaissance mission might take six and a half hours and the aircraft’s range is over 3,000 miles.
Boeing E-3 Sentry is an AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft and it's derived from 707 airliner, distinguished by the addition of a large, rotating rotodome containing the main radar, identification friend or foe (IFF) and data-link fighter-control (TADIL-C) antennas.
The E3 look-down radar has a 360° view of the horizon, and has a range of more than 320km at operating altitudes. The radar can detect and track air and sea targets simultaneously.
In a tactical role, the E-3 can detect and track hostile aircraft operating at low altitudes over any terrain, and can identify and control friendly aircraft in the same airspace. In the strategic defence role, the E-3 provides the means to detect, identify, track and intercept airborne threats.
The USAF Block 30/35 modernisation programme included the following upgrades: provision of GPS (global positioning system) navigation, enhanced computer memory, installation of a JTIDS (Joint Tactical Distribution System) Class II terminal and ESM (Electronic Support Measures) equipment.
The USAF Block 40/45 upgrade programme includes new open architecture PC-based mission systems, upgraded communications and navigation systems and enhanced electronic support measures. Full operational capability of all 33 aircraft in the USAF fleet was scheduled for 2016.
In December 2007, Saudi Arabia requested the sale of upgraded mission equipment for five aircraft including the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) kits. As of September 2011, France, UK, US and NATO have installed the RSIP kits into their fleets.
Boeing received a $1bn contract in November 2019 to modernise the AWACS fleet operated by NATO to keep the aircraft in service until 2035.