Date of Award

Fall 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Willard C. Frank, Jr.

Committee Member

Carol Boyd

Committee Member

Patrick Rollins

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47A7


Airborne Early Warning (AEW) is the act of carrying a search radar aloft that can actively detect and even control aircraft and ships where a radar mounted on a ship or on land cannot. The United States Navy began research during World War II to counter the low-flying aircraft threat. Development of the AEW aircraft, however, was not complete in time to be of use during this conflict. Initially the Navy used two different aircraft, one carrier-based and the other land-based, to detect such air threats. As technology improved, these different capabilities were combined into a single airframe that contained the best qualities of both approaches. The unique ability of these aircraft to use radar to detect enemy units beyond the radar horizon of surface ships has revolutionized naval warfare. The aircraft and men of the AEW community have become "The Eyes of the Fleet," a distinction they still hold today.


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