1981 – 1987
The E3 “AWACS” aircraft is one of the most sophisticated early command and surveillance platforms available to the United States Air Force. Imagine Congress’ surprise when President Ronald Reagan announced plans to sell 5 of them to Saudi Arabia after they have only recently entered service in the United States. The “Airborne Warning and Control System” sale was, at that time, the largest military sale ever. While it met with Congressional resistance, as well as resistance from the Israeli government, ultimately, the objective was to cement Saudi Arabia as the US new anchor against Tehran. The high profile political risk associated with this arms sale would draw the two governments together long after the Cold War was over.
Time: Late War
Removed after event: Yes
The damage is easily repaired, but the loss of Muslim Revolution is not. Given that this is essentially a 1 Op card if you control Saudi Arabia, I will only play it if Muslim Revolution or Middle East Scoring is not going to be reshuffled into the deck. (Or if I have more important things to send to Space, which I probably do.)
If the US controls Saudi Arabia already, then I usually play this without a second thought since it doesn’t affect the scoring of the region. (Though Muslim Revolution might be just what you need to win back the Middle East.)
There are four possible scenarios:
If Muslim Revolution is still in the deck and the USSR controls Saudi Arabia, this is a very good event with two positive benefits.
If Muslim Revolution isn’t in the deck and the USSR controls Saudi Arabia, AWACS depends on on whether you possibly wresting control (which would involve at least 4 Ops after AWACS) is really worth it to you. Does it affect Domination scoring, or just the battleground’s VP?
If Muslim Revolution is still in the deck but I control Saudi Arabia, this is an OK event since Muslim Revolution is guaranteed to take out at least 5 influence. But I am probably willing to chance it and just play AWACS for Ops.
If Muslim Revolution isn’t in the deck and I control Saudi Arabia, then there is definitely no point to wasting the 3 Ops.