The Boeing E-3 Sentry airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft from Tinker Air Force Base relocated to Minot Air Force Base due to severe weather in the area of central Oklahoma. The four aircraft and air crews moved to Minot Air Force Base as a part of normal weather relocation plans to mitigate the possibility of damage during a tornado watch at their home station. The Tinker Weather Flight is tracking severe weather during this evening and overnight hours through central Oklahoma. Tornadic storms and damaging wind are possible, but the main threats are hail up to 1 inch and flooding.
The first tornado warning can be traced all the way back to the 1940s for Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City. In the years prior to this event, the word “tornado” was banned from use in alerts because it was believed to caused fear among the public. On March 25, Air Force Captain Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest J. Fawbush saw qualities of the atmosphere that resembled the destructive tornado event just days prior. They alerted the base of an impending tornado that ended up causing more damage to the base and injuring a few people. Thus, Miller and Fawbush issued the first successful tornado warning.
Tinker Air Force Base is a major United States Air Force base, with tenant U.S. Navy and other Department of Defense missions, located in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, surrounded by Del City, Oklahoma City, and Midwest City. Tinker AFB is home to major Department of Defense, Air Force and Navy units with national defense missions. Minot Air Force Base is a U.S. Air Force installation in Ward County, North Dakota, 13 miles (20 km) north of the city of Minot via U.S. 83. Minot AFB is the home of two major wings: the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing, both of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).
The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an American airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft developed by Boeing. E-3s are commonly known as AWACS. Derived from the Boeing 707 airliner, it provides all-weather surveillance, command, control, and communications. The E-3 is distinguished by the distinctive rotating radar dome (rotodome) above the fuselage. Production ended in 1992 after 68 aircraft had been built. The first U.S. Air Force AF E-3 was delivered in March 1977, and during the next seven years, a total of 34 aircraft were manufactured. E-3s were also purchased by NATO (18), the United Kingdom (7), France (4) and Saudi Arabia (5).