US Electronic Reconnaissance Designations


The United States of America (USA) introduced the E designation category in 1962 and it is continued until today. It applied to electronic reconnaissance aircraft.


Grumman E-1 Tracer
To provide the US Navy with an AEW capability, Grumman developed the E-1 Tracer. Based on the C-1A, the first prototype, designated XTFW-1, made its first flight on 17 December 1956. The massive dish - type radome, in which a Hazeltime AN/APS-82 radar system was placed, was carried above the fuselage. The delivery of 88 E-1B production aircarft started in February 1958. The E-1B was used by both the Atlantic and the Pacific Fleet squadrons and the last E-1B was retired in 1976.
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye
The E-2 is a shipborne or land-based airborne early warning and control aircraft. The first flight of the first of three prototypes was made on 21 October 1960. A total of 59 production E-2As were produced, of which 51 were updated to E-2B standard by the end of 1971 apart from two TE-2A trainers and two aircraft converted to E-2C prototypes. The first flight of the E-2C prototype took place on 20 January 1971 and production started in mid - 1971. The first flight of the production E-2C was made on 23 September 1972. The US Navy has ordered 154 E-2Cs. A total of 211 of all E-2C versions were ordered, of which 183 had been delivered by the end of 1999. The AN/APS-145 radar replaced the AN/APS-120, AN/APS-125, AN/APS-138 and AN/APS-139 in new - built E-2Cs. The E-2C was exported to Egypt (6), France (2), Israel (4), Japan (13), Singapore (4) and Taiwan (6), as E-2T. The newest variant is the Hawkeye 2000, ordered by France (1) and the US Navy (21).
Boeing E-3 Sentry
The E-3 is the primary AWACS aircraft of the NATO. The E-3 started life as the EC-137D, with made its first flight on 5 February 1972, followed by the first E-3A on 31 October 1975. The E-3 is based on the Boeing Model 707 Series 320B and carries the AN/APY-2 radar on top of the fuselage and can track 600 low - flying aircraft. The USAF ordered 32 E-3As of which 22 and the two EC-137D were converted to E-3B and 10 to E-3C. The NATO ordered 18 E-3As and Saudi Arabia 5 E-3A together with 8 KE-3A in the tanker role. The aircraft of the RSAF are powered by four CFM International CFM56 turbofans in place of the Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-100A turbojets. France (4 E-3F) and the United Kingdom (7 E-3D Sentry AEW. Mk 1) also ordered the variant with CFM56 engines.
Boeing E-4 AABNCP
The Boeing Model 747 Series 200E was selected in 1973 as an Advanced Airborne National Command Post (AABNCP). The first of three E-4As flew on 13 June 1973 and was delivered in December 1974. The second and third E-4A were delivered in May 1975 and September 1975. The E-4B has updated systems and the only E-4B was delivered in December 1979. All E-4As were converted to E-4B between mid 1983 and early 1985.
Windecker E-5 Eagle I
One example of this all - plastic research four - seat monoplane, powered by an IO-540-G engine was aquired by the USAF as E-5A (73-1653). It was used for tests regarding the radar detectability of a synthetic - fibre aircraft. It was later handed over to the US Army for further tests.
Boeing E-6 Mercury
The US Navy awarded a contract to Boeing on 29 april 1983 to provide a replacement for the Lockheed EC-130Q TACAMO. The role of the TACAMO aircraft is to provide a link between the US National Command Authorities and the US Navy fleet of nuclear submarines. A derivate of the Boeing Model 707 was developed as the E-6A Hermes, later renamed Mercury. The first flight was made on 19 February 1987 and the first aircraft was delivered to the US Navy on 3 August 1989. At the end of the 1990s the E-6As were updated to E-6B. The E-6B will also take over the strategic command post function of the EC-135C.
No information available.
Northrop Grumman E-8 J-STARS
The E-8 represents a major advance in battlefield control, introduducing the capabilities of the E-3 in the ground batle. The E-8 is based on the Model 707 Series 320C and the first prototype made its first flight on 22 December 1988. The two E-8A protoypes were used with great succes in Operation Desert Storm in the beginning of 1991. After one new build YE-8B was produced, the decision was made to convert former airliner aircraft for the production phase. There is a requirement for 13 to 19 E-8Cs.
de Havilland Canada E-9
In 1985, the USAF selected the de Havilland Canada DHC-8 as an airborne platform for a surveillance system required in support of drone and missile testing out of Tyndall AFB, Florida. Two aircraft were converted to E-9A by LTV Sierra Research Division to carry a steerable phased - array antenna in a starboard - side fuselage fairing, AN/APS-128D sea - surveillance radar in a radome under the forward fuselage and a special avionics fit. The two aircraft entered service in 1988.
Boeing E-767
This is not an official US designations, but it is used by Boeing to designate four Boeing Model 767 Series 200ER exported to the JASDF in the AWACS role. The first fligth was made on 9 August 1996 and delivery started in 1998


Ruud Deurenberg, 16 September 2000

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