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Boeing delivers two Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft to Royal Australian Air Force

27th November 2009 - 09:10 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Boeing Company today delivered the first two Project Wedgetail 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The aircraft were delivered during a ceremony at RAAF Base Williamtown, the main operating base for the Wedgetail fleet. Attending the ceremony were officials from the RAAF, the Defence Materiel Organisation and Boeing.

Delivery of the two aircraft and utilization of the Boeing-provided Operational Flight Trainer, Operational Mission Simulator and Mission Support System allow the RAAF to begin familiarization training for flight, mission and maintenance crews. The trainer and the simulator are located at the Williamtown base's AEW&C Support Centre.

Three additional Wedgetail aircraft will be delivered to the RAAF by the end of 2010, including one upgraded in the final AEW&C configuration with Electronic Support Measures (ESM). All aircraft in the Wedgetail fleet will be upgraded in the final configuration in early 2011.

"Project Wedgetail represents a fundamental shift in airborne surveillance technology. Australia is leading the way with the most capable electronically scanned air surveillance radar and battle management system in the world," said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing vice president of the Airborne Early Warning and Control Program. "The worldwide surveillance marketplace has taken notice of Wedgetail's progress, and we're working with several customers to define their future requirements."

Project Wedgetail includes six 737 AEW&C aircraft plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 commercial airplane, the 737 AEW&C aircraft is designed to provide airborne battle-management capability with an advanced multirole electronically scanned radar and 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles that are able to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously. The mission crew can direct offensive and defensive forces while maintaining continuous surveillance of the operational area.

Boeing also has AEW&C systems in production for Turkey and the Republic of Korea.

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