AWACS receives two new tail flash designs

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Ashlyn K. Paulson
  • 72nd Air Base Wing

Tinker’s unit pride shines brighter than ever -The 552nd Air Control Wing recently released two new tail flashes for the Airborne Warning and Control System.

The tail flash on Aircraft 0009 honors the Blue Knights of the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron. It consists of a black and white checkerboard and a yellow border. Aircraft 0578’s new tail flash pays homage to the 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron Phoenixes. The flash features red, yellow and white flames. 

The 963rd AACS’s design uses a yellow border to signify the sun and excellence required of Air Force personnel. The checkerboard is symbolic of the AWACS computers, with a chess knight, as it is the only chess piece capable of jumping over other pieces and exclusively capable for defense and attack.

Aircraft 0578’s design pays homage to the 964th AACS, but has a common symbology with Aircraft 0009, such as the use of the color yellow. It also uses it to represents the electronic “eyes” of aircraft in defensive and tactical situations.

Aircraft 0578’s use of red represents the primary squadron color. The flames signify rebirth and renewal.

The concept of airborne radar surveillance and control will continue, like the Phoenix, renewing itself through growth and advancement in technology to meet every challenge the unit shall face. 

While squadrons may fly different tails depending on mission requirements, aircraft are inaugurated as command jets. Command jets date back to the earliest moments of conflict. After having a dedication ceremony to the squadron commander, the unit can take pride in the maintenance of their jet, the deployments or temporary duty travel on the jet or any milestones that may have been reached by the squadron or jet itself.

 The symbolism emblazed on select tails celebrates the squadron’s unique contributions to the 552nd ACW mission and proud heritage as a member of Tinker Air Force Base.