Britain’s fleet of six Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.1 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft have effectively been grounded due to ongoing electrical problems that has affected the whole fleet. This has led to them being withdrawn from many operations supporting coalition aircraft on operations against Daesh-ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
An RAF spokesperson quoted in DefenseNews said;
As a result of routine technical inspection on RAF E-3D aircraft, an issue has been identified related to the integrity of the electrical wiring and cabin conditioning system. Safety remains our paramount concern; therefore, the Sentry fleet will only fly again once the ongoing rectification work is complete.
It is understood that the work is being carried out on the aircraft at the fleet’s temporary home base at RAF Coningsby. The Sentry force has relocated there while improvements are made on the runway at RAF Waddington where they are normally based.
The RAF acquired seven Sentry AEW.1s in the late 1980s to replace the cancelled Nimrod AEW.3 but one has since been relegated to a ground training role. In the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review it was announced that the aircraft will serve on an additional ten years beyond its original planned out of service date of 2025.