Australia now has the most advanced air battle space management capability in the world, with the Royal Australian Air Force’s Boeing E-7A Wedgetail aircraft achieving Final Operational Capability. The fleet of six Wedgetail aircraft reached the milestone this month with the entire capability, from physical aircraft to logistics, management, sustainment, facilities and training, now fully operational and able to support ongoing operations.
The Wedgetail has already proven to be highly reliable and effective on operations and this achievement will further Australia’s capabilities. The aircraft deployed on Operation Okra in the Middle East region, completing over 100 surveillance sorties with our coalition partners, flying more than 1,200 hours. The Wedgetail also provided coordination and flight safety capability for the air search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean.
The Wedgetail is tailored to meet the specific Air Force requirements, with six Boeing 737 aircraft modified to accommodate sophisticated mission systems and advanced multi-role radar. The aircraft significantly enhances the effectiveness of Australia’s existing Australian Defence Force and civil surveillance agencies and helps maintain an advanced technological capability.
Deputy Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Davies, AO, CSC said the E-7A Wedgetail provides Australia with the ability to control and survey vast areas of operation, and contribute to Australia’s modern and fully integrated combat force under Plan Jericho.
«The aircraft’s advanced multi-role radar gives the Air Force the ability to survey, command, control and coordinate joint air, sea and land operations in real time», Air Vice-Marshal Davies said. «As we transition into a more technologically advanced force as part of Plan Jericho, the Wedgetail will be able to support future aircraft and surveillance systems».
The home operating base for the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft is Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown in New South Wales.
|Contractor||Boeing, Northrop Grumman|
|Airframe||Boeing 737-700 Increased Gross Weight (IGW) airframe|
|Radar||Northrop Grumman «MESA» electronically scanned array radar system with 360 degrees/Air and Maritime modes/200+ NM range (230 miles/370 km)/All Weather|
|Identification Friend or Foe (IFF)||300 NM/345 miles/555 km|
|Operational ceiling||41,000 feet/12,496.8 m|
|Range||3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km|
|Mission Crew||6 to 10|
|Inventory||Total force, 6|