EC-121K “Constellation”


The Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star was a United States Navy and United States Air Force Airborne early warning and control radar surveillance aircraft. A military version of the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, it was designed to serve as an airborne early warning system to supplement the Distant Early Warning Line, using two large radomes, a vertical dome above and a horizontal one below the fuselage. EC-121s were also used for intelligence gathering (SIGINT).

It was introduced in 1954 and retired from service in 1978, although a single specially modified EW aircraft remained in service with the U.S. Navy until 1982. The U.S. Navy versions when initially procured were designated WV-1 (PO-1W), WV-2, and WV-3. Warning Stars of the U.S. Air Force served during the Vietnam War as both electronic sensor monitors and as a forerunner to the Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS. U.S. Air Force aircrews adopted the civil nickname, “Connie” (diminutive of Constellation) as reference, while naval aircrews used the term “Willie Victor” based on a slang version of the NATO phonetic alphabet and the Navy’s pre-1962 “WV-” designations for the aircraft type.

Span: 126 ft. 2 in.
Length: 116 ft. 2 in.
Height: 27 ft.
Weight: 145,000 lbs. max.
Armament: None
Engine: Four Wright R-3350s of 3,400 hp. ea.
Cost: $2,031,000
Serial Number: 141297

Maximum speed: 320 mph.
Cruising speed: 240 mph.
Range: 4,000 miles
Service ceiling: 25,000 ft.

The Museum of Aviation will temporarily close beginning immediately as a public health precaution in relation to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). This closure is anticipated to last through May 11, 2020. Robins AFB leadership will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you posted regarding any changes. Thank you for all your continued support!