First Royal Air Force Wedgetail aircraft fitted with MESA surveillance sensor
Northrop Grumman's Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) sensor has been successfully installed on an E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft for the RAF, the company announced on 4 November.
'Northrop Grumman’s in-service, combat-proven MESA system already provides mission crews with advanced Airborne Moving Target Indication (MTI) capability to support NATO assurance missions against evolving threats,' said Jack Hawkins, director, MESA, at the company.
'This advanced MTI will enhance UK forces’ ability to simultaneously detect, track and identify airborne and maritime adversary targets at long range, while maintaining continuous surveillance of the operational area.'
Australia, Turkey and South Korea have active fleets of Wedgetail aircraft, with completion work under way on the second and third systems for the UK. Shephard reported in February that the USAF has also indicated it will purchase the E-7/MESA combination to replace its ageing E-3 AWACS fleet.
Criticism has been levelled at the RAF's decision to cut its original order for Wedgetails from five to three aircraft, but the service was confident it had a full business case for the aircraft and that the fleet provided a meaningful ISR capability.
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