The Royal Australian Air Force’s highly advanced airborne early warning and control capability, the E-7A Wedgetail, is now celebrating 10 years since its introduction into RAAF service.
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Today, Air Force operates six E-7A Wedgetail aircraft from RAAF Base Williamtown, which provide Australia with one of the most advanced air battlespace management capabilities in the world.
Based on a Boeing 737-700, the E-7A Wedgetail combines long-range surveillance radar, secondary radar, passive detection surveillance receivers and tactical/strategic voice and data communications systems. This provides the Australian Defence Force with its ability to survey, command, control and co-ordinate a joint air, sea and land battle in real-time.
As the sole operating squadron for the platform, Commanding Officer of Number 2 Squadron, Wing Commander Jason Brown, said over the past 10 years the E-7A fleet has been regularly dispersed throughout the world supporting concurrent exercises and operations, often with all aircraft deployed simultaneously with mission success.
“As commanding officer during this significant milestone, it is a great honour and I am immensely proud of what has been achieved by the squadron, not only during my command but historically, at home and abroad,” WGCDR Brown said.
Major contributions since the E-7A’s introduction into RAAF service include Operations Spate, Atlas and APEC Assist; providing concurrent support for Operation Okra; and achieving a high mission success rate with No. 2 Squadron E-7A maintenance and aircrew, in support of the US-led coalition operations.
“At Operation Okra, the RAAF E-7A Wedgetail had responsibility for the command and control of all coalition aircraft in a ‘battle management area’ and crews regularly managed more than 80 combat aircraft during a single mission,” WGCDR Brown said.
“RAAF E-7A crews have also conducted record-breaking endurance sorties for their aircraft type.
“In an integrated force, the E-7A shared information with other coalition aircraft, which allowed the force to have situational awareness across air, land and sea domains. The E-7A Wedgetail provided a force multiplier effect, not only for RAAF but for all participating nations.”
With many operational milestones and achievements to reflect on, 2020 also represents a significant year for No. 2 Squadron association members, with some marking the 50th anniversary of their service contribution to the Vietnam conflict.
The important partnerships and successful collaboration with the Airborne Early Warning and Control System Program Office (Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group) and defence industry partners, have been a key contributing factor to the effectiveness and operational success of the platform, from its introduction into RAAF service to the ongoing sustainment and contribution to the Australian Defence Force capability at home and abroad, as called upon by the government.