Warwickshire Telegraph

Huge RAF AWACS aircraft spotted flying over Midlands

- By ENDA MULLEN News Reporter enda.mullen@reachplc.com

A FAIRLY rare visitor was spotted in the Midland skies in the shape of a huge RAF Boeing Sentry.

The aircraft - commonly known as AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) - stands out due to the huge radar equipment mounted on top of its fuselage.

The aircraft performed a low approach and go around at Birmingham Airport shortly before 4pm on Monday, April 12 as part of a training exercise.

Flight tracking apps revealed the aircraft, which is based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshi­re, took off for a flight over the sea, accompanie­d by a US Air Force KC135.

It then travelled to Birmingham Airport for a single circuit before heading back to RAF Waddington.

Amazing images of the Sentry over Birmingham Airport were captured by aircraft enthusiast Shahrukh Mahmood, who has shared them with us.

The RAF describes the Sentry AEW1 E-3D as an airborne early warning (AEW) and command and control aircraft.

It monitors airspace to “provide

The RAF says the informatio­n gathered by the Northrop Grumman APY-2 radar is processed by the mission crew and disseminat­ed by a variety of data links and communicat­ion systems.

The Sentry is based on a Boeing 707-320 airliner, the aircraft first being chosen by the US Air Force for modificati­on in 1970.

It has a range of 5,000 nautical miles and can be refuelled in mid-air.

In the RAF the Sentry replaced the piston-engined Shackleton.

The original plan was for the Shackleton to be replaced by a modified Nimrod but technical problems during trials in 1980 saw the RAF opt for the Sentry instead.

A Government Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015 called for the Sentry to remain in service until 2035.

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