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Royal Australian Air Force No. 2 Squadron Brings E-7A Wedgetail to Weapons School’s INTegration

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Royal Australian Air Force No. 2 Squadron Brings E-7A Wedgetail to Weapons School’s INTegration

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The U.S. Air Force Weapons School hosted Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 2 Squadron, based in Williamtown, Australia, flying their E-7A Wedgetail for the first time as part of the Weapons School’s INTegration (WSINT) phase, May 20 through June 12, 2024. The USAF and RAAF use joint exercises and training programs to maximize the E-7A’s command and control capabilities in combined operations. In 2022, the Department of the Air Force selected the E-7A to replace the aging E-3 Sentry fleet. The USAF and RAAF agreed to an expanded exchange program to train with RAAF, Royal Australian Navy, U.S. Navy and RAF personnel, supporting the E-7A aircraft’s USAF service introduction. These 70 Airmen, from 13 career fields, will return from the program by the end of 2024 and support its integration. No. 2 Squadron, now a multi-national integrated unit, regularly participates in global exercises with joint partners to develop and test E-7A tactics with air superiority and maritime strike forces.

“The E-7A will be a critical node in the Air Force’s ability to gain and maintain air superiority in support of combatant commander priority missions. The E-7A will provide advanced airborne moving target indication and battle management, command and control capabilities, and advanced multi-role electronically scanned array radar that enhances airborne battle management and enables long-range kill chains against potential adversaries. The tri-lateral E-7A acquisition and operations initiative between the RAAF, RAF and USAF will lead to an interoperable and interchangeable coalition E-7A community. This will enable highly flexible operations in support of national defense priorities,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Shahin Namazi, E-7A director of operations.

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U.S. Airmen and Royal Australian Air Force airmen sit at the on-board mission consoles inside an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft prior to a Weapons School Integration mission at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, June 7, 2024. The on-board mission consoles help to provide battle management support to the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Integration participants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brianna Vetro)
U.S. Airmen and Royal Australian Air Force airmen sit at the on-board mission consoles inside an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft prior to a Weapons School Integration mission at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, June 7, 2024. The on-board mission consoles help to provide battle management support to the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Integration participants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brianna Vetro)

“Joint and combined exercises are essential for force generation and technical integration with our coalition partners. Through the unique capabilities of the E-7A, the survivability and lethality of the joint and combined force is increased significantly. To further highlight the enduring nature of our partnership, No. 2 Squadron has trained and continues to train Royal Air Force (RAF) and U.S. Air Forces aircrew, maintainers and support staff. While the E-7A is a technical cut above traditional airborne early warning and control platforms, it really comes down to the dedication of the people who operate, maintain and support it at No. 2 Squadron. It is easy to focus on the platform, however, the true secret to the success of the E-7A is the innovation, professionalism and dedication of our aviators that make it the world-leading platform that it is today,” said RAAF Wing Commander Samuel Thorpe, commanding officer of No. 2 Squadron.

The Boeing E-7 Wedgetail is a twin-engine airborne early warning and control aircraft based on the Boeing 737 Next Generation design. It has a fixed, active electronically scanned array radar antenna instead of a rotating one as with the 707-based Boeing E-3 Sentry. The E-7 was designed for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) under “Project Wedgetail” and designated E-7A Wedgetail. Australia ordered four AEW&C aircraft with options for three additional aircraft, two of which have since been taken up. The first two Wedgetails were assembled, modified and tested in Seattle, Washington, while the remainder were modified by Boeing Australia, with deliveries once set to begin in 2006. Boeing and Northrop teamed with Boeing Australia, and BAE Systems Australia. Boeing Australia provides training, maintenance and support, BAE provides EWSP systems, Electronic Support Measures (ESM) systems and ground support systems. In April 2022, the United States Air Force announced that the E-7 will be replacing the E-3 beginning in 2027.

Royal Australian Air Force No. 2 Squadron Brings E-7A Wedgetail to Weapons School’s INTegration
A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail aircraft assigned to the No. 2 Squadron based in Williamtown, Australia, sits next to a U.S. Air Force E-3 Sentry assigned to the 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), prior to a Weapons School Integration mission at Nellis AFB, Nevada, June 7, 2024. The E-7A Wedgetail is capable of simultaneously tracking airborne and maritime targets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brianna Vetro)

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