E-7 Wedgetail2023-05-17T14:55:36+01:00

Project Description

E-7 Wedgetail will be a new cutting-edge surveillance fleet of aircraft based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

What is E-7 Wedgetail?

E-7 Wedgetail will replace the E-3D Sentry fleet and deliver the next generation of the RAF’s Airborne Early Warning and Control capability to detect and help overcome both current and future complex threats. The E-7 Wedgetail is the most capable and effective airborne early warning and control platform in operation today.

Capable of simultaneously tracking multiple airborne and maritime targets, the E-7 aircraft uses the information it gathers to improve situational awareness and direct assets such as fighter jets and warships for potential strike missions.

The three aircraft fleet will enable the UK to deliver its national and international commitments, including for NATO.

The aircraft are based on a Boeing 737NG airliner but being modified to carry a sophisticated Northrop Grumman active electronically-scanned radar. It is housed in a distinctive fin on the spine of the aircraft and will provide 360-degree coverage.

The aircraft are currently undergoing this conversion by a team of 100 highly skilled engineers at the STS Aviation Services modification facility in Birmingham.

Once in service Wedgetail will be operated by 8 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, already the home of the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft fleet.

The aircraft has previously been used by the Royal Australian Air Force on operations against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. In April 2022, the US Air Force announced its decision to procure E-7 to replace some of its aging E-3 Sentry fleet.

The E-7 aircraft uses the information it gathers to improve situational awareness and direct assets such as fighter jets and warships for potential strike missions.

How is E-7 Wedgetail delivered?

Three E-7 Wedgetail aircraft are being procured from Boeing.

In 2020 Boeing selected STS Aviation to undertake the modifications of the aircraft. Those three aircraft are currently undergoing modification by STS Aviation in its facility at Birmingham Airport, creating over 100 skilled jobs in that area.

Several UK-based Boeing suppliers including Leonardo in Yeovil, Thales UK in Crawley, and Hamble Aerostructures in Portsmouth are also providing UK developed technology, materials, skills and services for the aircraft conversion process.

In March 2023, Boeing announced a contract with Scottish business McLaughlin & Harvey Construction Limited for the build of a new facility ready for the arrival of the UK E-7 Wedgetail fleet at RAF Lossiemouth.

Subcontracted by Boeing Defence UK under a £83 million deal with the UK MOD, the contract is creating 125 jobs in the local area, including seven new trainee positions in engineering and construction.

The investment will enable the build of a new training facility and a second unit the size of an Olympic swimming pool where combined Poseidon and Wedgetail engineering will be delivered by serving RAF personnel.

The facilities will be ready for the arrival of the first aircraft Wedgetail aircraft, marking a return to RAF Lossiemouth for 8 Squadron, who will operate the aircraft, after an absence of 30 years.

Meet the DE&S E-7 delivery team

Become part of the team

The E-7 delivery team is responsible for managing the delivery of the aircraft, infrastructure investment, a comprehensive support package, transition into service and supporting contracts to quality, time and cost.

In addition to the delivery of three aircraft, the project team will oversee Boeing’s commitment to invest in local economy to ensure development of the supply chain.

The team is based primarily based at DE&S Abbey Wood in Bristol, but also has personnel at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland

Gp Capt Mark Butterworth,  E-7 Team Leader, said:

“This is a fantastic programme to work on, delivering a tremendous military capability, and I’m very proud of the efforts of the DE&S team who are working very hard to deliver to the frontline.”

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