The Air Force’s fleet of 31 E-3 AWACS radar planes is rapidly descending into obsolescence. The service should have begun a replacement program decades ago, but we are where we are: a successor based on Australia’s Wedgetail was announced in April of last year. The first two prototypes of a planned 26-aircraft buy should be delivered by 2027, with the rest entering the fleet by 2032. The joint force cannot do without the new planes, because at this point no one can say how long the E-3 will remain viable. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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