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NATO E-3A Sentry

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One of the most imposing aircraft on static display at this summer's Air Tattoo will undoubtedly be the E-3A Sentry.

The aircraft, a modified Boeing 707 with a large mushroom-shaped radar dome on its fuselage, provides NATO with crucial battlefield intelligence.

The E-3A Sentry is an airborne warning and control system (AWACS), which normally operates at an altitude of 30,000ft. When established at this altitude, a single E-3A can continuously survey the airspace within a radius of more than 400km of the aircraft and, using digital data links, exchange information with ground and sea-based commanders.

Geilenkirchen Air Base in Germany is home to NATO's 17 E-3As. Whilst their principle role is air surveillance, they can also help co-ordinate air-to-air refuelling missions, combat search-and-rescue and the support and control of friendly aircraft.

In accepting the Air Tattoo's invitation to attend, a senior NATO commander said: "You will be aware that last year we, unfortunately, had to withdraw from the Air Tattoo and divert the aircraft to support concurrent operations in Afghanistan and Libya. However, we very much hope to be able to honour our commitment to this year's airshow, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Former Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show I’ve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

“This is THE best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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