The Boeing E-3A jet is considered NATO’s ‘eyes in the sky’
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An unusual NATO jet with a huge radar dome was spotted circling over Suffolk. According to Flightradar24, the Boeing E-3A Sentry spent around an hour flying over the county at around 3,500 feet on Wednesday night (November 9).
Flight-tracking data shows that the aircraft reached west Suffolk after crossing the North Sea and flying along the Suffolk-Norfolk border. It then appears that the jet spent just under an hour circling over Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall and Newmarket.
According to the NATO website, the organisation operates a 14-strong fleet of Boeing E-3A aircraft. The jets – each equipped with a distinctive radar dome mounted on the fuselage – are based in Geilenkirchen, Germany.
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The E-3 Sentry is designed to detect aircraft, ships, vehicles, missiles, as well as other incoming projectiles. Amongst other missions, the fleet was involved in NATO operations Afghanistan after 9/11.
Most recently, the surveillance aircraft has been monitoring NATO airspace following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Under normal circumstances, the aircraft can fly for eight-and-a-half hours without refuelling.
It's currently unclear why the E-3A sentry was circling over west Suffolk. RAF Mildenhall has been contacted for comment.
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