AWACS puts eyes in the sky over Tyndall to support Checkered Flag 17-1/Combat Archer 17-3

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaiah J. Soliz
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 552nd Air Control Wing from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., deployed an E-3 Sentry and more than 80 Airmen to Tyndall AFB to provide command, control and communications support during a large scale aerial exercise.

Checkered Flag 17-1 and Combat Archer 17-3 are combined exercises that focus to improve the ability of multiple fighter squadrons from around the country to come together into a large scale total force integration whose collective resources aid in response to unforeseen or unplanned operations.

“The E-3 Sentry provides persistent wide-area battle management command and control to joint and coalition assets using a wide variety of sensors and data links,” said Maj. Michael, 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron Checkered Flag 17-1 detachment commander.


The 552nd ACW’s contribution to the exercise adds to the dynamic characteristics of the exercise, providing a real command and control element to the missions and offering constructive exercise capabilities. Exercises like these enhance the war-fighting capabilities of legacy and fifth-generation aircraft in a simulated combat environment.  

“The Airborne Warning and Control System crew, using the E-3 as its conduit, coordinates the entire battlespace,” said Col. Randall W. Cason, 44th Fighter Group and 325th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “They provide a ‘god’s eye’ view of all the action.”

The 552nd ACW allows commanders the ability to organize, train, equip and maintain combat ready forces, aircraft and communications equipment for rapid deployment and employment across the globe, while bringing sustainable and responsive battle management capability to combatant commanders.

“It is a very complex task to deliver near-real time battlefield information. The E-3 crew employs a wide array of sensor capabilities, and then utilizes numerous communication techniques, such as radios and datalinks, to provide critical information in support of combat capability to U.S. and coalition air, sea, and land power forces,” Maj. Michael said. “With the assistance of our outstanding maintenance, intelligence, and communications and computer personnel, the E-3 Sentry is the world's premier Battle Management and Command and Control platform.”

According to the official E-3 Sentry fact sheet, the E-3 Sentry is an airborne warning and control system aircraft designed to provide an accurate, all-weather real-time surveillance picture, and command and control in support of U.S. and NATO commanders.