Aussie Rules As Wedgetail Lines Up For Air Tattoo
Published: 02 May 2017
One of the furthest-travelled and most exciting visitors to July's Air Tattoo will be the Boeing E-7A airborne early warning and control aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force.
Known as the Wedgetail thanks to the fixed antenna for the multi-role electronically scanned array radar mounted on top of the fuselage, the E-7A is making its first appearance at the Air Tattoo.
Six Wedgetails are in RAAF service with No 2 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, the first example having been delivered during 2009. The basic design may look familiar, being based on the Boeing 737-700 commercial airliner, but inside it's very different. From 10 mission crew consoles, airborne and maritime targets may be tracked simultaneously. In the RAAF's words, it "can control the tactical battlespace, providing direction for fighter aircraft, surface combatants and land-based elements, as well as supporting aircraft such as tankers and intelligence platforms."
The type achieved full operational capability in May 2015, and has been very active on multi-national missions, not least the efforts to counter the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: "Given the tempo of overseas operations, we are especially pleased that the Royal International Air Tattoo is able to send the Wedgetail to RIAT 2017 - it's a perfect addition to the line-up of aircraft for our Partnerships theme this year."