AVALON 2009: Boeing aims for November Wedgetail delivery

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Boeing is aiming to deliver two 737-based Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force in November to allow the force to start training on the much-delayed aircraft.

John Duddy, vice-president and managing director Boeing Defence Australia, says the manufacturer and Australia have an agreement in principle on a revised schedule for the programme, which is now running 38 months late. Australia has six Wedgetails on order, four of which are being modified by Boeing in Australia. Under the revised schedule, the details of which are being refined, acceptance of all six aircraft would follow in the first quarter of 2010.

The programme has struggled with radar and electronic support measures capability and integration problems, but "system performance continues to improve", says Rick McCrary, vice-president of Australian business development.

In late February Boeing delivered a Wedgetail operational flight trainer designed and built by Thales to Australia.

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