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​Canberra to upgrade E-7A mission systems

Australia's Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) fleet is to receive a mission systems upgrade.

The upgrade comprises "new and more advanced combat identification sensors, tactical data links, and communication and encryption systems", says Australia's defence ministry in a statement.

The value of the contract is A$583 million, with the work to be completed by mid-2022. The work will mainly be conducted at two Australian air bases: RAAF Amberley and RAAF Williamtown.

“The upgrades are an important step in maintaining a potent Australia air combat force and will ensure continued interoperability with Australian allies including the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members,’’ says Australian defence minister Marise Payne.

“The Wedgetail is currently deployed to the Middle East region as part of our contribution to the fight against Daesh. It is a mobile radar and battle space management system that is keeping the international coalition one step ahead of the enemy.”

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Canberra has six E-7A Wedgetails, which are based on the 737-700 airliner.

In addition, the Royal Australian Air Force's full complement of Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft will be in Australia from the end of this week.

The nation's EA-18Gs, which will be part of No. 6 Sqn., were previously at the US Naval Air Station at Whibley Island, where RAAF crews familiarised themselves with the help of US Navy counterparts. Initial Operational Capability for Australia's EA-18Gs is expected in 2018.

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