The Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has taken initial delivery of two Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft from Boeing.
AEW&C Program Manager, Air Vice Marshal Chris Deeble said the aircraft – known as ‘Wedgetail’ – is critical to Australia’s Air Combat Capability and will play a key role in achieving the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) network-enabled war fighting capability.
"The Wedgetail aircraft is a ‘first of type’ development and extremely complex, given the range of cutting-edge radar technology and sensors that will be incorporated into each aircraft.
"Development, test and evaluation are still ongoing with many hurdles still to be overcome, particularly with respect to radar, electronic support measures and integrated system performance and stability.
"However with the initial delivery of two aircraft, Defence will now be able to conduct familiarisation training while Boeing completes the remaining test program and acceptance activities," AVM Deeble said.
"When fully operational, Wedgetail will enhance surveillance, air defence, fleet support and force coordination operations."
Boeing has currently scheduled initial acceptance of the first two aircraft for the first quarter 2010 when the aircraft will come into Commonwealth ownership.
The Commonwealth will eventually acquire six Wedgetail aircraft at a cost of more than (AUS) $4 billion.