The two aircraft arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown on November 20, one coming in from being on display at the recent Dubai Airshow. Media who were scheduled to attend the handover event, including Australian Aviation, were notified by Defence staff on the afternoon of November 23 that the event for the next morning had been postponed.
Despite the Wedgetail program being more than three years behind schedule due to protracted development delays with the revolutionary radar and integrating the aircraft’s various systems, the first two aircraft were due to be officially handed over by Boeing so RAAF personnel could commence training on the aircraft prior to initial operational capability in 2010. The first full capability aircraft, complete with the delayed electronic warfare and ESM systems, is due to be delivered mid next year, with the final aircraft, currently being modified at Boeing’s RAAF Amberley facility, due in early 2011.
The delivery delay is thought to be because of ongoing negotiations over the terms of the delivery and other contractual issues.