Australia exercises Wedgetail options

Australia has today exercised options to purchase two additional Boeing 737-700 aircraft for Project Wedgetail, an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) program. The value of the options is said to be approximately $180 million.

The options are part of the $1 billion-plus contract Boeing signed with the Commonwealth of Australia in 2000 for four 737-700 aircraft and six AEW&C systems. The agreement also provides for ground-based support segments for flight and mission crew training, a mission support segment, other support facilities and spare parts.

Delivery of the first two 737 AEW&C aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force is scheduled for 2006. The other four aircraft will be delivered by 2008.

The 737 AEW&C system is equipped with Northrop Grumman’s Multi-role Electronically Scanned array antenna with integrated identification friend or foe capabilities. The system also includes a flexible-open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades, an extensive communications suite, aerial refuelling capability and an electronic warfare self-protection subsystem.