Severe weather brings AWACS to D-M
By Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 27, 2015
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --
Several dozen Airmen boarded eight E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and flew here May 16, to avoid severe weather impacting their home base, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma endured severe thunderstorms, which brought heavy rains, wind, hail and tornados near Tinker AFB. An executive decision was made to evacuate the aircraft to protect them.
"The forecast was showing hail and heavy convective activity for the late afternoon, evening time frame, so it was thought in the interest of the fleet to evacuate them and get them somewhere where the weather was good so they wouldn't be damaged," said 1st Lt Gabriel DeJong, 963d Airborne Air Control Squadron pilot.
The AWACS provides all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications needed by commanders of U.S. and NATO air defense forces. They contain a rotating radar dome that is vital to the aircraft, held 11 feet above the fuselage.
With heavy rains and hail, the fleet of eight, valued at more than $2 billion, could have been damaged if not for the support of another base.
The AWACS returned to Tinker AFB later that evening once the severe weather decreased.