The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control platform has achieved final operational capability (FOC), after proving itself on operations in Iraq.
The aircraft has been deployed on Operation OKRA, the Australian contribution to the effort to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), completing more than 100 surveillance sorties in concert with coalition partners, and flying more than 1,200 hours.
“The fleet of six Wedgetail aircraft reached the milestone this month, with the entire capability from physical aircraft to logistics, management, sustainment, facilities and training now fully operational and able to support ongoing operations,” stated Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews. “The Wedgetail has already proven to be highly reliable and effective on operations.”
The Wedgetail also provided coordination and flight safety capability for the air search for Flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Deputy Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Davies stated that the platform provides Australia with the ability to control and survey vast areas, and contributes to the development of the modern and fully integrated combat force envisaged under the RAAF transformation strategy known as Plan Jericho.
“The aircraft’s advanced multirole radar gives the Air Force the ability to survey, command, control and coordinate a joint air, sea and land operation in real time,” he said. “As we transition into a more technologically advanced force as part of Plan Jericho, the Wedgetail will be able to support future aircraft and surveillance systems.”
Initial operational capability (IOC) was declared back in November 2012.