NATO Selects E-7 Wedgetail As E-3 AWACS Replacement

E-7 NATO

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E-7 NATO
An artist’s rendition of the E-7 Wedgetail in NATO livery. (Picture: Boeing)

The Boeing 737-based AEW platform is anticipated to be operational from the 2030s.

NATO had determined to switch its fleet of 14 E-3A AWACS (Airborne Warning And Management System) plane with six new E-7A Wedgetail plane, after a consortium of Allies authorised this month what has been outlined as one of NATO’s biggest-ever capability purchases. The manufacturing of the plane is ready to start within the coming years, with the primary one anticipated to be delivered by 2031.

“Surveillance and management plane are essential for NATO’s collective defence and I welcome Allies’ dedication to investing in high-end capabilities,” mentioned NATO Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg. “By pooling sources, Allies should purchase and function main belongings collectively that may be too costly for particular person nations to buy. This funding in state-of-the-art expertise reveals the energy of transatlantic defence cooperation as we proceed to adapt to a extra unstable world”.

The NATO Help and Procurement Company (NSPA) offered some extra particulars, stating that the consortium composed by Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania and the USA  concluded that “the E-7A is the only known system currently capable of fulfilling the strategic instructions’ important operational necessities and key efficiency parameters and obtainable for supply inside the timeframe required”.

The preliminary Alliance Future Surveillance and Management (iAFSC) functionality deal will ship an preliminary aspect to mitigate the danger of airborne surveillance and management functionality hole, says the NSPA, as the current AWACS fleet might be retired round 2035, simply 4 years after the anticipated supply of the primary E-7. The company added that the E-7A will guarantee a “clean transition from the prevailing functionality throughout different strains of improvement and into the longer term”.

Among the many NATO members, Turkey already operates the Wedgetail, whereas the USA and United Kingdom have chosen the E-7 as alternative for their very own AWACS plane. Sweden, which may lastly be part of NATO as early as this month, has chosen for its air drive the other contender for the AWACS replacement, the Saab GlobalEye.

NATO E-3
One of many AWACS plane of the NATO E-3 Element. (Photograph: Boeing)

Boeing says the E-7 provides a fully integrated, combat-proven, flexible command and control node that delivers multi-domain consciousness in probably the most difficult operational environments. The E-7’s open techniques structure and agile software program design allow the plane’s capabilities to evolve and stay forward of future threats.

In 2020 Boeing introduced that works had been in progress to upgrade the E-7 by integrating Open Mission Methods-compliant parts. Particularly, Boeing built-in its Battle Administration Command and Management (BMC2) system with an unspecified superior wide-band Lively Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar developed by Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman is the developer of the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar situated on a dorsal fin on high of the E-7’s fuselage, which supplies 360-degree surveillance functionality (although it doesn’t rotate like the E-3 Sentry’s antenna) with each air-to-air and air-to-surface protection with and built-in Identification Pal or Foe system.

The NATO E-7 fleet is anticipated to be primarily based at Geilenkirchen airbase in Germany, the place the E-3 fleet relies, and also will function from the ahead working bases throughout Europe. The Wedgetail might be a part of the Alliance Future Surveillance and Management system of techniques functionality, which may also embody house and maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance belongings, together with the already operational RQ-4 Alliance Ground Surveillance.


Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist primarily based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally learning to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.



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