McDonnell-Douglas EC-33 Tiger’s Eye AWACS

McDonnel Douglas EC-33B Tiger's Eye 1

ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Rob Morgenstern, Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen

edited by Tim Wing


  • EC-33B reference file
  • EC-33B gallery

Designation: McDonnell-Douglas EC-33 Tiger’s Eye Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Plane

I. Dimensions.

  • Length: 46.5 meters
  • Wingspan: 36.1 meters
  • Height: 9.4 meters
  • Dry Weight: 50.7 metric tons.

II. Type.

  • Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft
  • Crew of up to 12: 2 Pilots, Mission director, Weapons Controller (to support other aircraft in the theater), Surveillance Controller, 5 Surveillance operators manning the Surveillance center Communications operator, Equipment technician

McDonnel Douglas EC-33B Tiger's Eye 4

III. Propulsion.

  • 4 GE CF4-60C2 turbofan engines paired on either side of the tail providing 53.8 kN of thrust each.
  • 4 AlliedSignal 150 kW generators; one per engine for a total output of 600 kW.

IV. Performance:

  • Maximum speed: 805 kph (at 7010 m)
  • Service Ceiling:  13,000 meters
  • Maximum range: 10,370 km (without midair refueling)
  • Maximum Take-Off Weight: 83.2 metric tons

V. Sensory Systems:

Radar System:

  • Hughes AWG-20 X-band pulse-Doppler radar, providing long-range detection and tracking of targets at all altitudes.
  • Westinghouse APY-5 very-long-range wideband surveillance radar with rotary 12m radome, mounted to plane’s fuselage.
  • Loral ASARS-3 I-band Side-Looking Synthetic Aperature Radar (SLAR) for imaging and target determination mounted within 3m canoes on either side of the lower fuselage. System is capable of tracking larger targets out to 185.2 km and small vehicles out to 37 km.
  • Eaton APX-4 IFF secondary surveillance transponder

Optical tracking:

  • Thomson DOS-2000 multi-band digital camera system, for medium range traversable UV, infra-red imaging and optical band detection and tracking;
  • Thomson LT-3 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator.
  • Zeiss TS-2 long range telescopic array for IR spectrum (FLIR).

Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS):

  • Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
  • OlDelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR)
  • Grumman QRC-84 Infra-red Jammer
  • Westinghouse ALQ-255(V) bandwidth-tunable, frequency-agile active radar jammer
  • GEC Marconi ALA-102 COMINT Pulse Analyzing Receiver
  • Expendable jammer dispenser
  • Chaff dispenser
  • Flares
  • Active missile jammers
  • Multiple HF through S-band antennas.

VI. Armament:

  • None.

VII. Armor:

Full nuclear and chemical protection. Limited protection from hand fired solids and energy beams, shrapnel and other fragments.

VIII. Development:

McDonnell-Douglas provided the winning bid with an extensively modified MD-97ER aircraft. An entirely new wing and twin tail assembly integrating the self-defense systems is provided for the aircraft, as well as dual engines replacing the larger turbofans. In addition, the advances in new materials provided a significantly more durable outer skin thereby improving the survivability of the aircraft. This aircraft is similar to previous AWACS aircraft based on the Boeing 707 and 767 passenger aircraft with a slightly smaller airframe. The radome was used on this model instead of a phased array due to the cost of the system and the tight budget of the United Earth Government during the unrest that preceded the crash of ASS-1.

McDonnel Douglas EC-33B Tiger's Eye 2

The EC-33 provided the UN SPACY with an airborne command and control post that was used extensively during the Global Civil War. A few of these aircraft survived the Zentraedi Holocaust and were fielded as forward command bases during long range patrols and to put down Zentraedi uprisings. These aircraft were used to extend the UN Spacy sphere of influence into the wastelands and to provide buffer zones around the pockets of civilization that sprang up after the Zentraedi Holocaust. These aircraft were crucial to maintain order so that Earth could recover from the catastrophe.

The United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) Tactical Air Force used the Tiger’s Eye for patrolling the wastelands between populated areas.



Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (R) is the properties of Big West Advertising and Studio Nue. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: Shoji Kawamori, Miyatake Kazutaka, Haruhiko Mikimoto and Hidetaka Tenjin

Acknowledgement is extended to the work of Egan Loo and the Macross Compendium. Egan Loo is given all credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the Macross Compendium that has been utilized in this publication. 

Images Courtesy of Chad Wilson (Marchly) and the Macross Mecha Manual. Chad Wilson is given all credit for all images from the Macross Mecha Manual that have been utilized in this publication. 

Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized in this publication. 

Images From – Macross Perfect Memory and Robotech RPG Book 2: RDF Manual

Content by Robert Morgenstern, with Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker, edited by Tim Wing

Copyright © 1999, 1997, 1996 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; 2015 Tim Wing



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