Wedgetail radar sails through test

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Boeing and Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) have conducted a successful 3h test flight of the Boeing 737-based Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft’s phased-array radar, during which a 360° scanning capability was demonstrated.

Conducted in the USA by a combined Boeing/DMO project team, the demonstration was “trouble-free”, according to the Australian Department of Defence.

Boeing last week delivered the first of four Wedgetail aircraft scheduled to undergo modification by Boeing Australia to Royal Australian Air Force base Amberley in Queensland, marking the start of local production.

The Amberley modification line will employ 170 personnel at the peak of its activities.

The air force is to receive six Wedgetail AEW&C platforms, the first two of which are being completed at Boeing’s Seattle plant in Washington. The first of these aircraft is scheduled for delivery to the RAAF this November, with the entire fleet to be operational by 2008.

Meanwhile, a 737 flight simulator has been installed and commissioned at RAAF base Williamtown in New South Wales. The device will be converted over the next six months to the Wedgetail configuration for use during the
instruction of personnel from the RAAF’s 2 Sqn.

EMMA KELLY / PERTH