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Australia launches E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft modernization program

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World Defense & Security News - Australia
 
 
Australia launches E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft modernization program
 
Australia's Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Marise Payne, yesterday announced the Australian Government will upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control capability.
     
An E-7A Wedgetail airborne command and control aircraft departs RAAF Base Williamtown on a training mission during Exercise Diamond Shield
(Credit: Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence)
     
The AUS$582.5 million (US$443 million) upgrade is expected to be completed by mid-2022. Between $200 (US$ 152 mn) and $240 million (US$182 mn) will flow to Australian industry, creating 165 highly skilled jobs across the country.

Minister Pyne said the jobs will be spread across the Boeing Defence Australia offices, with 120 jobs in Brisbane and 45 between the RAAF Bases at Amberley and Williamtown.

Majority of staff will be based in Brisbane with some staff at Amberley and Williamtown”, Minister Pyne said.

The Wedgetail is a modified Boeing 737-700, with the addition of advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar and 10 mission crew consoles. It is one of the most advanced pieces of aerospace technology in the Australian Defence Force.”

Minister Payne said the aircraft will be upgraded with new and more advanced combat identification sensors, tactical data links and communication and encryption systems.

The upgrades are an important step in maintaining a potent Australia air combat force and will ensure continued interoperability with Australian allies including the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members,’’ Minister Payne said.

The Wedgetail is currently deployed to the Middle East region as part of our contribution to the fight against Daesh. It is a mobile radar and battle space management system that is keeping the international coalition one step ahead of the enemy.”

The Wedgetail has achieved outstanding results completing over 350 missions and flying more than 4400 hours with our coalition partners on Operation OKRA.

Based at RAAF Base Williamtown, the six E-7A Wedgetails are capable of communicating with other aircraft and providing air control from the sky. They can cover four million square kilometres during a single 10 hour mission.