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Aussie Wedgetail to provide overwatch for Ukrainian assistance

written by Stephen Kuper | July 11, 2023

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Defence Minister Richard Marles, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong have confirmed Australia will deploy a Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail aircraft to Germany to help protect a vital gateway of international humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine.

This six-month deployment includes up to 100 crew and support personnel and will provide critical intelligence, surveillance and airborne early warning, and command and control, integrating alongside partners including the United States.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, “Australia calls on Russia to withdraw its military forces from Ukrainian territory and immediately end this illegal invasion, which has caused terrible damage and loss of life in Ukraine. We strongly support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and are providing ongoing humanitarian and military assistance.”

ADF personnel or assets will not enter Ukraine throughout this deployment and the aircraft will not be involved in the current conflict in Ukraine.


Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles echoed the comments made by the Prime Minister, saying, “The deployment of the E-7A Wedgetail as an additional early warning capability will help ensure that vital support flowing to Ukraine by the international community is protected. Australia is committed to ensuring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity prevails against Russia’s assault on the rules-based order.”

Australia’s E-7A will operate outside of Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian airspace.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong added, “Australia’s E-7A Wedgetail deployment is a further demonstration of our support for Ukraine. Australia stands with Ukraine to empower its people to end Russia’s illegal, immoral war.”

The Boeing 737 AEW&C is a state-of-the-art system providing powerful airborne surveillance, communications and battle management.

The 737 AEW&C system encompasses both the Boeing 737-700 aircraft platform and a variety of aircraft control and advanced radar systems. Consisting of components created by Boeing and Northrop Grumman, the 737 AEW&C represents the standard for future airborne early warning systems. The E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C functions include:

  • A steerable beam, L-band, electronically scanned array that provides optimal performance in range, tracking and accuracy.
  • Radar that can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously.
  • Assistance to the mission crew in directing the control of high-performance fighter aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area.
  • A “top hat” portion that provides a practical solution for fore and aft coverage while maintaining the low drag profile of the dorsal array system, enabling the MESA system to be installed on the mid-size 737-700 platform without significant impact to aircraft performance.
  • An integrated identification friend or foe (IFF) function that shares the primary radar arrays to reduce weight, improve reliability, and simplify target correlation.
  • Advanced open-system architecture with standards-based design for cost-effective integration and add-on flexibility.

Based at RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia’s six E-7A Wedgetails significantly improve the effectiveness of the ADF. They are capable of communicating with other aircraft and providing air control from the sky and can cover 4 million square kilometres during a single 10-hour mission.

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