Boeing Wedgetail

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(Redirected from Project Wedgetail)
Project Wedgetail

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South Korean 737AEW&C proposal, based upon Australia's Project Wedgetail

RoleAirborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C)
CrewFlight: 2
Mission: 6-10
First Flight2004 (Projected)
Entered Service2006 (Projected)
Base Platform737-700IGW
ManufacturerBoeing Company
Length110 ft 4 in33.6 m
Wingspan117 ft 2 in34.3 m
Height41 ft 2 in12.5 m
Wing Area
Empty102,750 lb46,606 kg
Loaded lb kg
Maximum Takeoff171,000 lb77,564 kg
EnginesCFMI CFM56-7 turbofans
Thrust (est)2 × 27,000 lbf2 × 120 kN
Maximum Speed544 mph875 km/h
Combat Range3,800 n mi7,040 km
Ferry Range n.m. km
Service Ceiling41,000 ft12,500 m
Rate of Climb ft/min m/min
Wing Loading lb/ft² kg/m²
Power/Mass hp/lb kW/kg
AvionicsNorthrop Grumman MESA electronically scanned radar

The Boeing Wedgetail is an aircraft designed in response to Australia's RFP to vendors for an AEW&C aircraft (and supporting segments) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). In 1997, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems was awarded a contract to supply four AEW&C aircraft (whose design is based on the 737-700IGW), with Australia having the option to increase the order by three additional aircraft. Australia has since taken up two of those options. Aircraft deliveries are to begin in 2006. The first two Wedgetail aircraft are currently being assembled and tested in Seattle, Washington, with the final four aircraft to be assembled by Boeing Australia.

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Australia's first Wedgetail arrives at the 2005 Australian Airshow

The aircraft uses the Northrop Grumman Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar and control systems. The radar is located on a dorsal fin on top of the fuselage, dubbed the "top hat", and is designed for minimal aerodynamic effect. The radar is capable of simultaneous air and sea search, fighter control and area search. Other modifications include ventral fins to counterbalance the radar and countermeasures mounted on the nose, wingtips and tail. The cabin features eight operator consoles with sufficient space for four more, the Australian fleet will operate ten consoles with space for two more.

For the Australian aircraft, Boeing and Northrop are teamed with Boeing Australia, Ltd., BAE Systems Australia and Qantas Defence Services. Boeing Australia will provide training, maintenance and support, BAE provides electronic warfare systems and mission equipment and Qantas provides maintenance support for the aircraft. Qantas also provides maintenance for the two BBJ VIP aircraft of the RAAF.

Four airframes were ordered by Turkey, with an option for two more. The first example has been completed and is undergoing systems integration.

As a result of positive initial success, Boeing has pitched the aircraft to Republic of Korea as potential customers. Aviation Week & Space Technology stated in their June 21, 2004 edition that Italy has been strongly tipped for a purchase of a total of 14 Wedgetail and MMA aircraft, with fleet support provided by Alitalia.

The Wedgetail platform is also being used to develop technologies for the U.S. Air Force's E-10 AWACS aircraft.

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