Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has signed a £1.51bn deal to purchase five E-7 aircraft.
The E-7 fleet will replace the current Sentry aircraft and ensure the continued delivery of the UK’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability.
Named ‘Wedgetail’ by the Australian Department for Defence, the E-7 aircraft can fly for long periods of time and manage the battlespace from the sky.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“The E-7 provides a technological edge in an increasingly complex battlespace, allowing our ships and aircraft to track and target adversaries more effectively than ever. This deal also strengthens our vital military partnership with Australia.
We will operate state-of-the-art F-35 jets and world-class Type-26 warships, and this announcement will help us work even more closely together to tackle the global threats we face. “
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said:
“Today’s announcement about the procurement of five E-7 ‘Wedgetail’ Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft is excellent news for both the RAF and wider Defence. This world-class capability, already proven with our Royal Australian Air Force partners, will significantly enhance our ability to deliver decisive airborne command and control and builds on the reputation of our E3D Sentry Force.
Along with Defence’s investment in other cutting-edge aircraft, E-7 will form a core element of the Next Generation Air Force, able to overcome both current and future complex threats. “