Sydney Image: Australia Defence Gets Wedgetail 737
Project Wedgetail provides the ADF with an advanced,
state-of-the-art, Airborne Early Warning and Control
This impressive capability is an important node in the ADF's future self-reliant integrated network centric structure, and will provide our people with enhanced situational awareness of the areas under surveillance.
The 737 AEW&C is based on the Boeing Next Generation 737-700 featuring 21st century avionics, navigation equipment, and flight deck.
The System Acquisition Contract with Boeing is on budget and slightly ahead of contract schedule.
All design activities have been completed, the first two aircraft have completed their modification programs and the first aircraft has completed the Airworthiness Flight Testing program.
The Design Test and Evaluation program commenced in June 2005.
A Boeing 737 Wedgetail aircraft - the same aircraft that will soon provide Australia with leading-edge air and maritme surveillance - has landed in Canberra today.
Defence Minister Robert Hill said the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Wedgetail aircraft will provide a significant boost to Australia's combat capability when it comes into operation late next year.
"The Wedgetail is based on Boeing's next generation 737 aircraft, which is being modified to accommodate various sophisticated mission systems and radar," Senator Hill said.
"In the four years since project signature, it is still on schedule and on budget.
"The aircraft will have far more flexibility and capability than other similar platforms in service today.
"The visit by Wedgetail to Australia shows the progress and maturity of this key project."
The visit to Canberra coincides with Boeing's participation in the Australian International Airshow at Avalon in Victoria.
Australia will acquire six aircraft, and associated support and systems, with significant support by Australian industry. Importantly, the last four aircraft will be modified by Australian industry at Boeing Australia's facilities in Amberley, southern Queensland.
The current schedule has the first two aircraft being officially handed over to Air Force in November 2006.
The AEW&C Wedgetail is named after one of the largest eagles in the world, Australia's Wedgetail Eagle. The eagle has extremely acute vision, ranges widely in search of prey, protects its territory without compromise and remains aloft for long periods of time.