BRUSSELS, Nov 15 (Reuters) – NATO will exchange its ageing fleet of AWACS surveillance planes, in service because the Chilly Warfare within the Nineteen Eighties, with a militarised model of the Boeing 737 industrial jet, the alliance stated on Wednesday, in a deal probably price billions of euros.
Appearing like a flying radar tower, the AWACS (Airborne Warning and Management System) jets with the distinctive, nine-metre extensive radomes on their backs have been NATO’s eyes within the sky since 1982.
With their rotating radar, the present modified Boeing 707 jets can detect plane at a distance of greater than 400 kilometres (250 miles).
They’re able to monitoring an space of some 300,000 sq. kilometres (115,000 sq miles), a territory the dimensions of Poland, in accordance with NATO, and also can detect floor targets similar to ships.
To interchange the previous AWACS jets, NATO goals to buy six Boeing E-7 A Wedgetail planes, with the contract to be signed in 2024 and the primary jet prepared for operational responsibility by 2031.
“Surveillance and management plane are essential for NATO’s collective defence and I welcome allies’ dedication to investing in high-end capabilities,” NATO Secretary-Basic Jens Stoltenberg stated.
“This funding in state-of-the-art know-how exhibits the power of transatlantic defence cooperation as we proceed to adapt to a extra unstable world.”
The alliance didn’t specify why it selected to exchange its fleet of 14 AWACS planes with solely six Wedgetail jets, however it stated the brand new plane would have higher capabilities and be dearer than their predecessors.
America, Britain and Turkey additionally both fly the Wedgetail or plan to function it.
Primarily based at Geilenkirchen airbase in Germany, the AWACS fleet has been extensively used for NATO surveillance missions alongside the alliance’s japanese flank within the wake of Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
Up to now, the plane supported NATO missions within the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, but additionally occasions such because the 2006 World Cup in Germany and summit conferences.
In a battle, the AWACS planes cannot solely present a radar image for allied fighter jets, ships and management centres, but additionally direct NATO fight jets to their targets.
The plane, one of many few property NATO really owns, are staffed with multinational crews from 19 of the 31 allied nations.
(This story has been corrected to repair the plane sort to Boeing 707, not Boeing 737, in paragraph 3)
Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Enhancing by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Alex Richardson
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.