The first two of five Boeing E-7A AEW&C aircraft for the UK Royal Air Force will be sourced from the commercial market according to a response to Defence commitee questions by the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement.
In a statement responding to questions from the House of Commons Defence Committee, Stuart Andrew MP said two aircraft would be diverted from commercial production, while a further three production slots had been secured.
“The Seattle production line for the 737NG aircraft, which is then modified to become an E-7 AEW&C, is still operating and producing multiple military variants of the 737NG,” he said. “Boeing has sourced two 737NG from the commercial market and secured a further three production slots on this Seattle production line in 2021 and 2022 to meet our needs.”
He added that conversion of the five aircraft would be undertaken by Marshall Aerospace in Cambridge. “Boeing have significant experience of the conversion from the 737NG to E-7 having previously set up conversion facilities in three separate countries,” he said. “They have already started work with Marshall Aerospace, bringing in an experienced team who were involved in the previous conversions to ensure lessons have been learnt and are applied.”
The memo said modification of the first aircraft will commence at Cambridge in 2021, and the final aircraft is due to be delivered in early 2026.