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    An impressive sight and sound in the climb away from Runway 33 at Birmingham, as Royal Air Force’s 8 Squadron pilots one of their Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW aircraft in on a practice ILS approach with NATO30, after a day of training and air-to-air refueling over the North Sea out of RAF Waddington.

    Ordered jointly with France in 1987, due to the cancellation of the BAe Nimrod AEW Mk.3, the Royal Air Force has operated Boeing E-3Ds since 1991, notably over Iraq and Afghanistan during operations in the early 2000s, and forming a vital component of the NATO Airborne Early Warning Control contingent to this day.
    Herself a modernized version of the venerable Boeing 707 airliner, the E-3 is outfitted extensively with classified surveillance and monitoring equipment, and the iconic revolving rotodome providing 360-degree coverage from above the rear fuselage. Like the Armée de l’Air, and Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleets, the RAF E-3s are fitted with more efficient CFM56-2A3 turbofans, in place of the original Pratt and Whitney TF33s.
    In line with current defence plans, and with the fleet massively reduced to just 2 operational examples today – the entire E-3D force is expected to retire later this year – with the new Boeing E-7 Wedgetail AEW Mk.1 set to fill their role from 2023.

    Nikon D850, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR