E-7A Wedgetail

A RAAF E-7A Wedgetail flying in the skies near Oahu, Hawaii on 21 April 2021
The E-7A Wedgetail provides Australia with one of the most advanced airspace battle management capabilities in the world.
 
With its ability to command and control large areas of airspace, the Wedgetail’s ability to coordinate a joint air, sea and land battle in real time significantly increases the effectiveness of the ADF.
 
The Royal Australian Air Force has a fleet of six E-7A Wedgetail Boeing 737-700 IGW aircraft operated by No. 2 Squadron based at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle.
 
Achieving Initial Operational Capability in November 2012, the E-7A Wedgetail reached Full Operational Capability in May 2015.
 
The E-7A Wedgetail is a force multiplier with its long range surveillance and communications capabilities. The aircraft has participated in operations both domestically and internationally since its introduction into RAAF service and regularly supports single service, joint and allied exercise training activities.  Exercise and operational high points include:
 
  • Operations Spate, Atlas, Sio, Apec Assist whilst providing concurrent support for Operation Okra
  • Exercises: Bersama Lima, Cope North, Red Flag-Nellis/Alaska, and Pitch Black.
 
Showcasing its strength and agility, the E-7A deployed in support of Operation Okra several times between October 2014 and September 2020 (as part of the Air Task Group) and was responsible for the command and control of all coalition aircraft in a ‘battle management area’.
 
Crews regularly managed more than 80 combat aircraft during a single mission and using its air-to-air refuelling capability, conducted record-breaking endurance sorties for the aircraft type at the time.
 
These aircraft have maintained periodic support to coalition operations as called upon by government and have occupied a position of leadership and trust that is reflective of the platform’s technical superiority.
 

About the aircraft

 
The E-7A Wedgetail is based on a Boeing 737-700 series aircraft, with the addition of an advanced Northrop Grumman Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar, and 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles which can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously.
 
Technologically equipped for the modern battlespace, the E-7A Wedgetail combines long-range surveillance radar, secondary radar and tactical/strategic voice and data communications systems.
 
It is a highly advanced aircraft, providing an airborne early warning and control platform that can gather information from a wide variety of sources, analyse it, and distribute it to other assets. 
 
During a standard mission, the E-7A Wedgetail can cover more than four million square kilometres, an area the size of Western Australia or the Northern Territory; and is capable of unlimited long-range deployment with in-flight refuelling - making it highly effective in the endurance stakes.
 

Specifications

Manufacturer Boeing
Role Airborne early warning and control
Crew Pilot, Co-Pilot, Air Battle Managers and Airborne Electronics Analysts
Engine Two CFM International CFM56-7 turbofans (27,300 lb thrust each)
Airframe Length 33.6 m, height 12.6 m
Wingspan 34.3 m
Weight Maximum take-off weight 77,565 kg, maximum landing weight 60,782 kg
Speed Maximum 955 km/h, cruise 760 km/h
Range 7,040 km
Ceiling 41,000 feet
Equipment
  • Multi-role electronically scanned array (MESA) radar with range in excess of 400km
  • Electronic warfare self-protection measures including directed infra-red counter-measures, chaff and flares
  • Communication systems including HF, VHF, UHF, Link-11, Link-16, UHF SATCOM and ICS
  • 10 mission consoles