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Four F-15 Eagles Make for a Powerful AWACS Escort

With a violent war raging in Europe, it seems that most Western countries have stepped up the training routines for their national armies. Not the same can be said about the U.S., which kept practicing all sorts of missions even during the decades of peace that have passed over most of the world’s regions.
Four F-15 Eagles and an E-3 Sentry 6 photos
E-3 Sentry (AWACS)E-3 Sentry (AWACS)E-3 Sentry (AWACS)E-3 Sentry (AWACS)E-3 Sentry (AWACS) on refueling mission
Nowhere is this more visible than when it comes to the Air Force (USAF). This particular military branch, which for all intents and purposes is the one using the most extreme and advanced machines, makes no secret of the continuous training missions it flies, or the locations where it flies them, or why.

The amazing pic we have here is a fine example of that. It shows five aircraft from two very distinct families flying in formation over the coast of North Carolina, during an aerial refueling mission that took place in late March.

Front and center, we have an E-3 Sentry, also known as the AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System), and stationed at the Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. The Boeing 707/320-derived winged platform has been around since the 1970s, using its tell-tale, 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter flying saucer-shaped dome, in fact, a rotating radar, to do its surveillance thing.

Just like all others of its breed, this Sentry is powered by four Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines, can house a crew of 19, and can move for as much as 5,000 nautical miles (9,250 km) while on mission.

Accompanying it for this particular one in the skies over North Carolina are four F-15 Eagles assigned to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

Overall, the Sentry is a very rare sight, with a little over 30 of them flying. So, seeing it not once, but twice in the span of just four months (the USAF showed none last year in its weekly releases), is quite the event.

Editor's note: Gallery shows various Sentries.

 
 
 
 
 

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