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Do AWACS fly 24/7?

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2019, 23:16
by armedupdate
Do AWACS over US and NATO fly 24/7 to give coverage to most vital assets?

The recent cruise missile and drone attack in Saudi makes me wonder if US flies 24/7 in Middle East.

Re: Do AWACS fly 24/7?

Unread postPosted: 18 Sep 2019, 00:21
by h-bomb
armedupdate wrote:Do AWACS over US and NATO fly 24/7 to give coverage to most vital assets?

The recent cruise missile and drone attack in Saudi makes me wonder if US flies 24/7 in Middle East.


No we do not have enough to do it. We had 32, two have been lost (1 was repairable). That leaves 30, the E-3 goes to depot every 48 months, if we are generous they have 23 potentially available. Four are in PACAF leaving 19 for all other missions.

Now make a list of places that would need coverage... DC/Pentagon, NY, etc, plus deployments to the middle east. You need 3 air frames ideally for each location. If the AWACS fleet was at 100% mission capable we have enough sir frames for 6 orbits and one spare. The USAF planners have been dreaming of a space based radar system to provide world wide 24/7 coverage since the 1980's (if not earlier) for a reason. With the USNs 40 ish Hawk-eye fleet taking part of the load, you lesson the load.

These are specialized and expensive aircraft, like the Rivet Joints. We will never have enough to do that kind of mission for a prolonged time. After Sept 11th, we had NATO E-3s in the US assisting in providing air coverage.
https://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2002/p02-003e.htm

Re: Do AWACS fly 24/7?

Unread postPosted: 18 Sep 2019, 00:45
by armedupdate
So do AWACS normally patrol the East coast a lot or is it mainly done through ground radar?

Re: Do AWACS fly 24/7?

Unread postPosted: 25 Sep 2019, 14:31
by lamashtu
h-bomb wrote:
armedupdate wrote:Do AWACS over US and NATO fly 24/7 to give coverage to most vital assets?

The recent cruise missile and drone attack in Saudi makes me wonder if US flies 24/7 in Middle East.


Now make a list of places that would need coverage... DC/Pentagon, NY, etc, plus deployments to the middle east. You need 3 air frames ideally for each location. If the AWACS fleet was at 100% mission capable we have enough sir frames for 6 orbits and one spare. The USAF planners have been dreaming of a space based radar system to provide world wide 24/7 coverage since the 1980's (if not earlier) for a reason. With the USNs 40 ish Hawk-eye fleet taking part of the load, you lesson the load.



I think four air frames is what's needed for anything like continuous coverage. This assumes one is in the air, one is on stand-by to take its place, another has recently RTBed and is undergoing checks and light repairs, and the fourth undergoing deep maintenance. This is the number of E-2s on a single US aircraft carrier.