The Department of Defence says Australia’s new Wedgetail AEW&C surveillance aircraft has successfully taken part in the Bersama Lima Five Power Defence Agreement exercise in South East Asia.
Australia has purchased five of the leading-edge aircraft as part of a $3.9 billion project. The planes are produced by Boeing based on its 737 airliner.
Minister for Defence Material Jason Clare said the Wedgetail provided overwatch and communications as part of the Bersama Lima 2011 exercises, which began on October 17 and finished today. The exercises included land, sea and air assets from Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK. Fifty-six Australian personnel deployed with the Wedgetail, comprising two flight crews and two maintenance crews.
The $600 million Wedgetail can track up to 3000 land and air targets simultaneously and can spot airborne targets at a distance of 400km. Defence officials and analysts say the plane gives Australia a top-tier air surveillance capability.
Turkey and South Korea have also ordered the plane, while India has expressed interest, according to reports.