UK AEW 1980s replacement competition


ACCESS: Confidential
24 September 2009
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Back in the 80s it was finally realised that the Avro Shackleton AEW was obsolete and later that the Nimrod AEW.3 project was very unlikely to work correctly. The UK Government and MoD went looking for a replacement and settled on the E-3D Sentry which entered RAF service in 1990.

What were the other options considered?
I can remember a BBC news video which showed the choices as a high-flying radar outpost (E-3D) or a smaller jet that could duck down into valleys and pop up to illuminate the enemy.
I think a variant of the Britten-Norman Islander AEW with the Searchwater radar (used on the Sea King AEW helicopter) was considered at one time.


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The E-2 Hawkeye had been an option since it first appeared, other options included the C-130 and the HS-125.
There were two choices to have a rotating radar IE the Hawkeye or non-rotating as in the Phalcon. The radar could be carried in the nose or above the fuselage like the Erieye.
Plans for the Nimrod to be fitted with the rotating radar using British avionics, the Andover and VC-10.
The BAE 146 was proposed with an AN/APS120 radar.

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