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UK orders five E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft from Boeing

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The E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft. Photo: RAF

LONDON (BNS): The UK Defence Ministry has signed a $1.98 billion deal to purchase five E-7 Wedgetail aircraft from Boeing for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The E-7 fleet will replace the current E-3D Sentry aircraft and ensure continued delivery of the UK’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability, the RAF said.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson who inked the deal said, “The E-7 provides a technological edge in an increasingly complex battlespace, allowing our pilots to track and target adversaries more effectively than ever. This deal also strengthens our vital military partnership with Australia.

“We will operate the same state-of-the-art F-35 jets and world-class Type-26 warships, and this announcement will help us work even more closely together to tackle the global threats we face.”

The new E-7 fleet would be able to track multiple airborne and maritime targets at the same time, using the information it gathers to provide situational awareness and direct other assets such as fighter jets and warships.

As part of its plan for a managed transition to E-7, the RAF has decided to reduce its existing fleet of E-3D Sentry platforms from six to four aircraft by removing the two long-term unserviceable assets from active fleet. 

Doing this now will enable the Sentry Force to focus resources on providing better availability from the remaining four aircraft, to better assure the future Sentry Fleet output, including our commitments to the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force and the provision of NATO Assurance Measures missions, the RAF said.

The E-7 is based on a standard Boeing 737 airliner modified to carry a sophisticated Northrop Grumman active electronically-scanned radar. This can cover four million square kilometres over a 10-hour period.

The new platforms are expected to enter service with the RAF in the early 2020s.

Tags:

UK  MoD  RAF  E 7 Wedgetail  AEW&C  Boeing  E 3D Sentry  
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