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Beyond the Horizon: The History of AEW&C Aircraft

Beyond the Horizon: The History of AEW&C Aircraft Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2014 Title Beyond the Horizon: The History of AEW&C Aircraft
Author Ian Shaw with Sérgio Santana Publisher Harpia Publishing, LLC
Published 2014 ISBN 978-0-9854554-3-9
Format 256 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 35.95€


Beyond the Horizon – Harpia Publishing's compact, colorful study of Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft – traces the whole terrific tale in seven lavishly illustrated chapters and 256 pages.

Coverage commences with technologies developed by the Allies during World War II.  Early efforts aimed at detecting, for instance, German aircraft-launched V-1s and Japanese Kamikaze attacks.  And the authors outline all in fascinating fashion.

Advances fueled greater postwar use.  And naval AEW&C assets saw service during the Korean War and 1956 Suez Invasion.  Familiar designs like the TBM Avenger directed airborne intercepts and nocturnal bombing attacks.  Even Sikorsky HR2S helicopters and Goodyear blimps were tapped for trials!

Intercontinental nuclear threats prompted development of strategic detection systems.  The Soviets entered the fray with surprisingly capable Tupolev Tu-126s.  And the 1950s and 1960s saw introduction of airborne USAF pickets on guard for Soviet ICBM attacks.

AEW&C types saw service in Malaysia and Aden – and during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  And in Vietnam, EC-121 Super Constellations provided protection against North Vietnamese MiGs.  Technologies matured rapidly.  And Harpia's study capably recaps key international developments.

With the Boeing E-3 Sentry, however, the United States emerged as the undisputed AEW&C leader.  And much recent air-combat history inextricably involves this dominant design.

Beyond the Horizon gets the total Harpia treatment.  Color and B&W photos, color aircraft profiles, unit badge art and maps season the survey.  Coverage also includes annotations, abbreviations glossary, two appendices, a selected bibliography and index.

For over 35 years, AEW&C aircraft stood sentinel during global aerial conflict.  And Harpia's final chapter lists over 25 countries operating AEW&C types.

Surprises abound.  US rotodome configurations, authors reveal, actually evolved from World War II German technology designed to perch atop Arado Ar 234 jet bombers.  AEW&C assets actively assist in anti-narcotics operations.  And did a Super Connie really try a carrier landing in the Gulf of Tonkin?

Read Harpia's book – and find out!  And make this excellent effort your introduction to this fascinating subject.

Roundly recommended!

With thanks to Harpia Publishing for the review copy.