You’re operating completely outdated airplanes. How safe is the AWACS?
The NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft, purchased about 35 years ago, have been constantly modernized. As a result, this version of the aircraft is the most modern and versatile AWACS currently in service. Our planes are operated for only a fraction of the number of flight hours performed by civil aircraft, and they are maintained to the strictest standards. The NATO AWACS is therefore an especially safe aircraft. Throughout the 35-year existence of the NATO E-3A Component (in which the AWACS planes have accumulated about 350,000 flying hours), there have been no aircraft accidents involving fatal injury or damage to civil property. During that time, one NATO AWACS E-3A aircraft was involved an accident on the runway at Preveza, Greece, when it collided with a large number of birds during takeoff. As a result, the plane slid off the runway and was subsequently written off.