The Royal Air Force has revealed the future livery of its new E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning (AEW) Mk1 aircraft at the Royal International Air Tattoo taking place at RAF Fairford.
The three E-7 aircraft will be operated by VIII Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth whose Arabian dagger badge appears on the tail fin.
The dagger, known as a jambiya, was adopted in recognition of the unit’s long association with Arabia and is sheathed to symbolize the squadron’s guardian duties.
On the nose is the shield of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, reflecting the UK’s commitment to continue to provide the alliance with air surveillance, command and control, aerospace battle management and communications.
“To see the jambiya of 8 Squadron and NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force shield brought to life on the Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning Mk1 livery reflects our continued commitment to NATO, and marks a significant step in delivery of this capability,” Air Commodore Hicks, Wedgetail program senior responsible owner, commented.
Wedgetail, which is being procured under a $1.98 billion contract from March 2019 that initially called for five airframes but was later reduced to three, will replace the E-3D Sentry.
E-7 will be responsible for providing long-range air surveillance and control of an area of operations using a multi-role electronically scanned array (MESA) sensor and on-board passive systems to collect information to provide the crew with a real-time picture of aircraft and ships present across a broad area of responsibility. The crew use this information to provide direction and guidance to aircraft and commanders on the ground.
Based on a Boeing 737-700 series aircraft, with the addition of a Northrop Grumman Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar, and 10 mission crew consoles which can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously, the aircraft combines long-range surveillance radar, secondary radar and tactical/strategic voice and data communications systems.
With the E-7 Wedgetail, the RAF will join an airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) fleet of 14 aircraft in operation around the world with the, Royal Australian Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force and Turkish Air Force.
The US Air Force recently also picked the E-7 as its AWACS successor.