An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships, and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes. AEW&C units are also used to carry out surveillance, including over ground targets, and frequently perform C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions similar to an Air Traffic Controller given military command over other forces. When used at altitude, the radar on the aircraft allows the operators to detect and track targets and distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft much farther away than a similar ground-based radar. Like a ground-based radar, it can be detected by opposing forces, but because of its mobility, it is much less vulnerable to counter-attack.
Here is the List of Top 5 AEW&C (Airborne early warning and control ) Jets in the world
1) Boeing E-3 Sentry
The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an American airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) . It is derived from Boeing 707 . The role of the E-3 is to carry out airborne surveillance, and command, control and communications (C3) functions for both tactical and air defence forces. The Boeing E-3 Sentry have look-down radar that has a 360° view of the horizon, its range is more than 320km. The radar can detect and track air and sea targets simultaneously. The primary radar housed in the rotodome is the Northrop Grumman AN/APY-1/2 AWACS radar . The unit Cost of Boeing E-3 Sentry is US$270 million
2) Beriev A-50
Beriev A-50 is a Russian airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) . The Detection range of A-50 is 650 km for air targets and 300 km for ground targets. It uses The “Vega-M” RADAR which is capable of tracking up to 150 targets simultaneously within 230 kilometers. Large targets, like surface ships, can be tracked at a distance of 400 km.The A-50 carries out patrol missions at an altitude of 5,000m to 10,000m. The patrol service ceiling is 10km. The maximum flight range of the aircraft is 5,000km and the flight endurance is seven hours 40 minutes. At a range of 2,000km, the A-50 can remain on patrol for up to one hour 25 minutes.
KJ-2000 is a Chinese airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) .It is derived from modified Ilyushin Il-76 .The Chinese AWACS has a phased array radar (PAR) carried in a round radome .unlike the US AWACS aircraft, which rotate their rotodomes to give a 360 degree coverage, the radar antenna of the Chinese AWACS does not rotate. Instead, three PAR antenna modules are placed in a triangular configuration inside the round radome to provide a 360 degree coverage
4) Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye
The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft.It is equipped with aerial refueling capability .The E-2C was initially equipped with APS-125 search radar, but this was replaced by the AN/APS-139 in Group I aircraft from 1988 and the AN/APS-145 in the latest Group II E-2Cs. The latter radar allows a low-flying, fighter-sized aircraft to be detected at up to 253 miles (407 km) away with the E-2C flying at its operational altitude. A passive detection system gives warning of hostile emitters at ranges up to twice the radar detection range.
The E-2D is a high-wing airplane. It has a turboprop engine on each wing. The Advanced Hawkeye is fitted with improved Rolls-Royce T56-A-427A turboprop engines. It is capable of using the aircraft carrier’s catapults for takeoff. The aircraft has retractable tricycle landing gear. It is also equipped with a tail hook for landings.The E-2D’s Lockheed Martin AN/APY-9 UHF-band radar is the central feature of the Advanced Hawkeye
5) Saab 2000 AEW&C
The Saab 2000 is Swedish airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) .It is a variant of the Saab 2000 regional transport turboprop aircraft equipped with the spine-mounted Saab Systems Erieye PS-890 side-looking reconnaissance radar. Erieye is an active phased array pulse Doppler radar operating in the 3.1GHz to 3.3GHz band. The radar is operational from three minutes after take-off and during climb and provides an effective surveillance area of 500,000km².The Erieye radar has an instrumental range of 450km and detection range of 350km against a fighter aircraft sized target in dense hostile electronic warfare environments and at low target altitudes.The system is capable of tracking multiple air and sea target over the horizon and provides above 20km altitude coverage, 360° coverage and has sea surveillance capability