The Royal Air Force personnel participating in Exercise Pitch Black are not limited to those aviators who have deployed to Australia with Typhoon and Voyager. Others embedded within the Royal Australian Air Force are also taking part with the E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft. For the exercise a single E-7A operated by 2 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force deployed to Tindal from its base at Williamtown, New South Wales. Royal Australian Air Force Tindal some 320kms to the South of Darwin, home to a squadron of F-35A Lightning stealth fighters.
A head of the delivery of the first RAF Wedgetail seedcorn Programme has been established with the Royal Australian Air Force which sees RAF maintainers, technicians, and aircrew embedding within 2 Squadron. The symbiotic relationship assists the Royal Australian Air Force with the delivery of E-7 capability and will provide a core of experienced personnel to operate UK Wedgetail at RAF Lossiemouth. The E-7A, which will be known as the Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning Mk1 in RAF service, provides long-range air surveillance and control of an area of operations.
“Seedcorn offers a breadth of opportunities both for the workforce on the Squadron to learn frontline maintenance and technician practices, for the aircrew to practise airborne skills, but also for Engineering Officers such as myself to provide acquisition and sustainment advice and guidance to the Delivery Team back in the UK,” Flight Lieutenant Gale Asset Manager said. Flight Lieutenant Gale is the Asset Manager for the mission computing system and a Duty Engineer who was previously an engineer on Chinook.
The Boeing 737 AEW&C is a twin-engine airborne early warning and control aircraft based on the Boeing 737 Next Generation design. It was designed for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) under “Project Wedgetail” and designated E-7A Wedgetail. It uses a Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) 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. It is lighter than the 707-based Boeing E-3 Sentry.