The first of three new E-7 Wedgetail aircraft for the Royal Air Force is about to start conversion work.
STS Aviation will convert three Boeing 737 airliners into E-7 Wedgetail airborne early warning aircraft at its facility at Birmingham Airport.Boeing said on Twitter:
“Wedgetail has reached another milestone, with the UK Military Aviation Authority (MAA) approving Boeing and STS Aviation to modify the first aircraft in Birmingham. Working with Defence Equipment & Support we’re one step closer to delivering the first E-7 Wedgetail for Royal Air Force.”
#Wedgetail has reached another milestone, with the UK Military Aviation Authority (MAA) approving Boeing and @STSAviation to modify the first aircraft in Birmingham. Working with @DefenceES we’re one step closer to delivering the first E-7 Wedgetail for @RoyalAirForce. pic.twitter.com/PbePR9Eptv
— Boeing UK & Ireland (@BoeingUK) April 6, 2021
Wedgetail is an airborne early warning and control system, commonly known as AWACs or AEW&C. They are designed to track multiple targets at sea or in the air over a considerable area for long periods of time. This aircraft is replacing the E-3D Sentry, pictured below.
The plan, previously, was five aircraft but the recent ‘Defence Command Paper’ reduced the order from five to three. The Defence Command Paper released, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’, stated:
“We will retire the E 3D Sentry in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E 7A Wedgetail in 2023. The E 7A will transform our UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capability and the UK’s contribution to NATO. The nine P 8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will help to secure our seas.”
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