06 Juli 2017
RAAF E-7A Wedgetail (photo : Brian Lockett)
$582 million for Australian Wedgetail to remain World-best
Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne Minister for Defence Industry and the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced the Australian Government will upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control capability.
The $582.5 million upgrade is expected to be completed by mid-2022. Between $200 and $240 million will flow to Australian industry, creating 165 highly skilled jobs across the country.
Wedgetail nose antennae (photo : joolsgriff)
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.”
Wedgetail tail antenna (photo : joolsgriff)
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.
Wedgetail wing tip antenna (photo : joolsgriff)
“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.”