airborn early warning

A Fairey Gannet AEW.3 - standing for Airborne Early Warning - of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, date and location unknown.

Designed specifically for the Royal Navy, the aircraft utilised a contra-rotating system powered by the Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba. In essence, they mounted two turboprops (Mambas) side-by-side and coupled them through a single gearbox. This allowed pilots to shut down one engine while cruising to conserve fuel and extend endurance. One prop could also be feathered without causing thrust asymmetry problems. One well designed little aircraft, they first flew in their original anti-submarine warfare configuration on 19 September 1949.


In later life, a small number of the RAF’s Shackletons were subsequently adapted for airborne early warning (AEW) duties, performing in this capacity until the type’s retirement in 1991.

An E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron One One Six (VAW-116) launches from the flight deck