Global Boeing team to upgrade Australian Defence Force E-7A fleet
July 5, 2017
Boeing’s first major upgrade program for the 737 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) capability will provide critical interoperability upgrades to the Australian Defence Force.
Under the $582.5 million AIR 5077 Phase 5A contract, Boeing Defence Australia will lead the upgrade of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) fleet of six Boeing-built E-7A Wedgetail aircraft in three releases over six years, with support from Boeing’s Airborne Surveillance Command and Control team in the U.S. and a network of suppliers.
“We’re leveraging over 40 years of AEW&C knowledge and investment, and a successful track record of maintaining and upgrading aircraft built based on Boeing’s successful 737 model for the RAAF,” said Darren Edwards, Boeing Defence Australia’s vice president and managing director.”
The aircraft and associated support systems will be upgraded with new advanced combat identification sensors, tactical data links, communications hardware and encryption system, and mission computing hardware and software upgrades.
“We are on track to deliver the first release of upgrades to all six aircraft in early 2018, with the first aircraft completing flight testing two months ahead of the schedule; a demonstration of the strength and success of the partnership between Boeing and the Commonwealth of Australia on this mission-critical platform,” said Edwards.
Two aircraft will receive the full suite of release 1 Phase 5A upgrades by early 2019, which include target identification, mission computing upgrades and increased situation awareness through larger visual monitor displays. The remaining fleet will receive integrated IP Chat communications upgrades into mission computing, data link upgrades, a new wide-band satellite system and dual display upgrades by 2022.