On 22 October Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne welcomed the United Kingdom’s announcement that it is in discussion with Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) regarding potential procurement of the E-7 WEDGETAIL Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft to replace its existing E-3 SENTRY fleet. No. 8 Squadron at RAF Waddington operates six E-3D aircraft, of seven originally delivered, according to the MT World Defence Almanac 2018.
“The WEDGETAIL is a great Australian success story, designed for the Royal Australian Air Force with investment by the Australian Government and significant contribution by Australian industry; it is a highly advanced world-best aircraft,” the Minister stated. “Widely recognised as the most advanced aircraft of its type in the Western world, the WEDGETAIL provides state-of-the-art airborne surveillance, communications and battle management systems.”
Australia’s experience in operating the WEDGETAIL presents a significant opportunity to work closely with the United Kingdom through cooperative development and industry collaboration. “Australian industry, including the more than 200 Australian companies that have contributed to our own WEDGETAIL acquisition and sustainment, stands to benefit from what could become one of Australia’s most significant defence exports,” added Minister for Trade, Tourism and Industry, Steven Ciobo. “A UK procurement will add to the global fleet of WEDGETAILs, already including Australia, Turkey and South Korea, which can be supported and sustained by Australian industry and create hundreds of Australian jobs.”
Released earlier this year, Australia’s Defence Export Strategy identifies the United Kingdom as one of Australia’s highest defence export market priorities.