E‑3D Component – RAF Waddington, United Kingdom

Since achieving Initial Operating Capability in July 1992, the E‑3D Component has shared the NAEW&C mission with its sister Component at Geilenkirchen. From its Main Operating Base at Royal Air Force Waddington, the E‑3D Component’s fleet of seven E‑3D aircraft supports NATO missions and provides the United Kingdom with a national capability when necessary. The Component also comprises mission support, training, and engineering elements; maintains an expeditionary capability to respond from a state of high readiness to any operation around the world either as a NAEW&C Force asset, including as an element of the recently-formed NATO Response Force, or as a national contribution to any coalition.

Under the day-to-day operational control of the NAEW&C Force Commander, the E‑3D Component has made a major contribution to every National, NATO and Coalition Military Campaign since its formation and contributes 25% of the Force’s annual operational output. In controlling air combat assets in coordination with NE‑3A aircraft, the E‑3Ds have engaged in the conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently in supporting the air intediction over Libya.

The E‑3D variant of the AWACS is operated by a crew of 18, drawn from RAF and exchange personnel; it is configured to meet United Kingdom’s operational requirements, to maintain interoperability with Allied E-3 fleets and to maximise interchangeability with the E‑3A. The most notable differences from the E‑3A are its engine design and a refuelling probe.


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