B-roll of a U.S. Air Force E8-C aerialy refueled by a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Video by Staff Sgt. Amanda Helton - U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs
The E-8C is a modified Boeing 707-300 series commercial airframe extensively remanufactured and modified with the radar, communications, operations and control subsystems required to perform its operational mission. The most prominent external feature is the 27-foot (8 meters) long, canoe-shaped radome under the forward fuselage that houses the 24-foot (7.3 meters) long, side-looking phased array antenna.
The radar and computer subsystems on the E-8C can gather and display detailed battlefield information on ground forces. The information is relayed in near-real time to the Army and Marine Corps common ground stations and to other ground command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, or C4I, nodes.
The antenna can be tilted to either side of the aircraft where it can develop a 120-degree field of view covering nearly 19,305 square miles (50,000 square kilometers) and is capable of detecting targets at more than 250 kilometers (more than 820,000 feet). The radar also has some limited capability to detect helicopters, rotating antennas and low, slow-moving fixed wing aircraft.
As a battle management and command and control asset, the E-8C can support the full spectrum of roles and missions from peacekeeping operations to major theater war.
Primary Function: Airborne battle management
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corp. (primary)
Power Plant: Four Pratt and Whitney TF33-102C
Thrust: 19,200 pounds each engine
Wingspan: 145 feet, 9 inches (44.4 meters)
Length: 152 feet, 11 inches (46.6 meters)
Height: 42 feet 6 inches (13 meters)
Weight: 171,000 pounds (77,564 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 336,000 pounds (152,409 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 155,000 (70,306 kilograms)
Payload: electronic equipment and crew
Speed: 449 - 587 miles per hour (optimum orbit speed) or Mach 0.52 - 0.65 (390 - 510 knots)
Range: 9 hours
Ceiling: 42,000 feet (12,802 meters)
Crew: (flight crew), four; (mission crew) normally 15 Air Force and three Army specialists (crew size varies according to mission)
Unit Cost: $244.4 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)
Initial operating capability: December 1997
Inventory: Total Force wing, 17; Reserve, 0
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