The tests were conducted in September and October off the coast of Seattle and comprised 19 flights and the dispensing of more than 500 chaff and flare packages from the aircraft. Flight tests were conducted at varying speeds and configurations, including representative approach and take off phases of flight with undercarriage and flaps down, perhaps the most critical phase of flight and the one in which the aircraft may be under the most threat if deployed to a forward operating base.
“The testing program verified that the Boeing installed self-protection system will effectively counter its intended threats reliably and safely,” said Kermit Hollinger, electronic warfare manager for Boeing AEW&C programs. “This milestone is the latest example of Boeing’s ability to integrate military systems onto commercial aircraft and provide our customers with low risk, cost effective solutions to their operational requirements.”
The first two of six Wedgetails are due to be handed over to the RAAF at a ceremony at RAAF Williamtown on November 24, while the remaining four will be delivered in 2010 with the integrated electronic warfare suite cleared for use.