Wedgetail Aircraft Achieves Final Operational Capability


06/15/2015:Australia now has the most advanced air battle space management capability in the world, with the Royal Australian Air Force’s E-7A Wedgetail aircraft achieving Final Operational Capability.

The fleet of six Wedgetail aircraft reached the milestone this month with the entire capability, from physical aircraft to logistics, management, sustainment, facilities and training, now fully operational and able to support ongoing operations.  

The Wedgetail has already proven to be highly reliable and effective on operations and this achievement will further Australia’s capabilities.

The aircraft deployed on Operation Okra in the Middle East region, completing over 100 surveillance sorties with our coalition partners, flying more than 1,200 hours.

The Wedgetail also provided coordination and flight safety capability for the air search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean.

The Wedgetail is tailored to meet the specific Air Force requirements, with six Boeing 737 aircraft modified to accommodate sophisticated mission systems and advanced multi-role radar.

The aircraft significantly enhances the effectiveness of Australia’s existing Australian Defence Force and civil surveillance agencies and helps maintain an advanced technological capability.

The home operating base for the Wedgetail aircraft is RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales.

Credit:Australian Ministry of Defence:May 26, 2015

For the Second Line of Defense visit to and story on 2nd Squadron see the following:

The Squadron Commander highlighted that the message going forward with the squadron was three fold: grow, integrate and prepare. 

Growth meant simply to fill out the squadron and enhance its operational capabilities. 

Integrate meant to build the squadron’s ability to work within the battlespace, to work effectively with the other Aussie forces and with coalition partners.  Prepare for the system will always be evolving.

The always evolving part of it is not widely appreciated. 

This is a software upgradeable aircraft with a defined launch point (IOC) but no fixed end point (FOC). 

The system will always be evolving and growing as the software code gets rewritten to reflect events and demands from the squadron.

The squadron works through its experience and shapes change orders which get sent to the procurement authorities to sort out priorities for the next round of upgrading the aircraft.

The difference between older and such a new system was outlined by one participant in the roundtable as follows:

“We have in the same time frame bought a CRC system full up which will look pretty much like it is in 20 years; with Wedgetail it will look nothing like it does now in 20 years.”

The Aussies have named their tanker squadron the Dragons, so here we see at No. 2 squadron the technology Maoists focusing on “continuous revolution” provided for a software upgradeable aircraft. 

With the coming of the F-35, which is also a software upgradeable aircraft, the Aussies are getting real operational experience with software upgradeability with the Wedgetail squadron.