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Turkish early warning and control aircraft to arrive for premiere presentation

26.06.2017, 12:13

The Turkish Air Force is returning to NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days after three years with another exclusive premiere. For the first time in the Czech Republic, it will present its early warning and control aircraft E-7T Peace Eagle.

Regular visitors of the event remind previous participation of the Turkish Stars aerobatic group, or F16 Soloturk team, but Turkey also uniquely offered its RF-4E Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft three years ago and its presentation this year keeps a very high standard.

“Every time Turkey participated at NATO Days it brought genuine jewels and the E-7T premiere is exactly that,” appraises Zbyněk Pavlačík, Chairman of Jagello 2000 Association. “After NATO’s E-3A and British E-3D based on Boeing 707 and Swedish Argus based on Saab 340, this is already the third platform of airborne early warning and control system that will introduce itself at our show.”

“This is really a unique presentation and great accomplishment, because participation of this aircraft at airshows outside of Turkey is very rare. I remind only its static display at Farnborough seven years ago, when it was a part of the Boeing company exposition before handing the plane to Turkey, and then at ILA Fair in Berlin in 2014,” adds Jan Čadil, editor-in-chief of Aviation and Astronautics Monthly.

The E-7T aircraft, sometimes designated as Boeing 737 AEW&C, were originally developed for the Royal Australian Air Force. They have the airframe of the twin-engine Boeing 737, so they are about three quarters of the size of four-engine E-3s. Contrary to them, E-7Ts do not have a rotating circular radar dome, but are equipped with static antenna located on a dorsal fin on top of the fuselage, which is 10.8 m long by 3.4 m high, much bigger than the one of Argus. It is also the reason E-7 had to be modified by ventral fins to counterbalance the radar.

The radar is capable of simultaneous air and sea search, fighter control and area search, with a maximum range of over 600 km (look-up mode). When operating in look-down mode against fighter-sized target, the maximum range is in excess of 370 km. When used against maritime targets, the maximum range is over 240 km for frigate-sized targets. MESA is capable of simultaneously tracking 180 targets and conducting 24 intercepts.

The Turkish Air Force has in total four E-7Ts, named after cardinal directions. It took over the first of them in 2014. The only other operator of the E-7Ts, besides already mentioned Australia, is South Korea, what makes Turkey the only country that can present this type of aircraft at European airshows.

 “It is not clear, if and how will popular NATO’s E-3A participate at NATO Days, but it is still possible that two early warning system aircraft will again met in Ostrava,” concludes Pavlačík.

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