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Wedgetail takes part in first USAF-RAAF operational integration exercise

27th May 2022 - 09:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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USAF identified the E-7 as being ‘the only platform being capable of meeting the requirements’ to replace its E-3 fleet. (Photo: USAF/Trevor Bell)

The USAF tested the operational integration capabilities of the RAAF's E-7A Wedgetail during the recent Black Flag 22-1 exercise.

The USAF conducted Exercise Black Flag 22-1 with four branches of the US military and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in a first coalition test environment from 9-13 of May.

The RAAF E-7A Wedgetail was subjected to tests of its operational integration capabilities during the exercise.  

This was not the first time the RAAF has integrated the E-7A with the USAF, but it was the first occasion the aircraft has taken part in a test exercise.

The USAF began the formal replacement programme of its ageing 31-strong fleet of Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft in April this year.

Although the contract is expected to be awarded in FY2023, the USAF identified the E-7 as being ‘the only platform being capable of meeting the requirements’ to replace the E-3.  

Other customers for the E-7 are South Korea (Peace Eye) and Turkey (Peace Eagle).

The UK has also ordered three aircraft for the replacement of the E-3 Sentry AWACs aircraft. The Wedgetail is expected to enter service with the RAF in 2023 with an OSD of 2024, according to Shephard Defence Insight.

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