a sophisticated detection aircraft, fitted with powerful radar and a computer, capable of simultaneously tracking and plotting large numbers of low-flying aircraft at much greater distances than is possible with ground radar.

Origin of AWACS

1965–70; A(irborne) W(arning) A(nd) C(ontrol) S(ystem) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for awacs

Contemporary Examples of awacs

  • Again, the Europeans have AWACS, but not enough crews to handle an all-hours campaign lasting months.

    The Daily Beast logo
    America’s Secret Libya War

    John Barry

    August 30, 2011

  • The U.S., British, and French air forces each provided their own AWACS airplanes to maintain 24/7 coverage of the war theater.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Libya War’s Unsung Heroes

    Clive Irving

    August 22, 2011

British Dictionary definitions for awacs



n acronym for

airborne warning and control system
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for awacs



1966, initialism for "Airborne Warning and Control Systems."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper