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Northrop Grumman to commence work on MESA sensors for US Air Force E-7 AEW fleet

22nd March 2023 - 18:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The MESA sensor fitted to USAF E-7s is likely to feature enhancements compared to previous versions built for export. (Image: Boeing)

The USAF will become the fifth operator of the E-7/MESA combination following Australia, Turkey, South Korea and the UK.

Northrop Grumman is to enter into production of its Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) sensor for the USAF's E-7 fleet, for which Boeing received an initial contract earlier in March as a replacement for the E-3 AWACS fleet.

A core element of the E-7 weapons system, the MESA will provide long-range sensing, detection and identification, equipping the aircraft with simultaneous air and maritime sensing, early warning and air battle management capabilities.

'The multifunction MESA sensor will provide the US Air Force with critical multi-domain awareness to enable decision superiority for the range of mission requirements today and into the future,' said Ed Griebel, VP of airborne surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman.

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MESA is has an active production line and has been delivered on Australian (six), Turkish (four) and South Korean (four) E-7 aircraft, with work also under way on the UK RAF's E-7 fleet (three on order).

The USAF aircraft are highly leveraged on the UK variant but include US-specific mandated capabilities, a Boeing spokesperson told Shephard at the time of the initial contract award.

‘Major subsystems, including – but not limited to – the radar, communications and networking architecture, are being modified to meet those mandates,’ they added.

The Shephard News Team


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