View Full Version : RAAFs first two Wedgetail AEW&C 737 aircraft

Flight Detent
26th Nov 2009, 01:03
Almost as I speak, the first 2 of 6 AEW&C Wedgetail 737 IGW aircraft are being delivered to the RAAF at 2 Squadron at Williamtown.
An appropriate ceremony has been (was) scheduled.

Maybe a bit late, but hey, there they are in (almost) all their glory!

One will be remaining in the States for a little bit to assist with continued integration development. The other 3 will be delivered early next year.

Good now, and will be exceptional a little later!


26th Nov 2009, 06:30
Fully operational? I didn't think they were likely to achieve full operational capability for a year or two.

Feather #3
26th Nov 2009, 20:31
Watch your head and shoulders on the aerial if you're walking down the back!!

Cheers ;)

26th Nov 2009, 20:34
Whilst they may be 'handed over' for the likes of the media, they will not be useable until next year.

26th Nov 2009, 20:51
I'd be interested in hearing about their handling characteristics- particularly on approach and departure- with the surfboard on the back. Whilst I recall hearing that they had tanked the thing of a US tanker (KC10?) it would also be interesting to hear how the surfboard impacts on the aerodynamics of that exercise.

Who is the RAAF using as the drivers? Are they transferring experienced 737 crews across from the BBJ or have they started afresh?

26th Nov 2009, 22:41
The pilots flying the wedgetail have been waiting for the arrival of the first aircraft at WLM for four years now. I think they have done some flying with VB to keep their hand in. There has been a simulator in place for a few years.

The unit will quickly fill up with aircrew over the next year, but it may take years for the machine to deliver the capability that Boeing promised. There have been lots of problems with the radar.

26th Nov 2009, 23:57
This should be interesting...a good friend worked for Boeing in the Wedgetail project, he left a little while ago...I reckon he aged 10 years in 24 months.

Lots of problems, some of them ridiculous....when the mock up was completed, the aircraft and the sensors were at max weight, but the weight of the crew had not been factored in!!!

Initial flight tests revealed the great big surfboard on the roof meant the pilots had to fly manually at 5deg alpha and the autopilot could not cope.

The COG of the test aircraft were way outside of calculations.

Aicraft severly overweight and could not match performance specifications...he recounted a meeting with Turkish Air Force officials who were so disappointed in the Wedgetail, the only way they stopped them from leaving the meeting was by talking about soccer!!!

Flight Detent
27th Nov 2009, 01:45

Looks like every single response post is incorrect in some way...

1 - 'operational', I didn't say at any point they were operational. In fact I said "...(almost)in all their glory!". That will be another year or so, remember they are a developmental airplane!

2 - Your "head and shoulders" are not at risk as aircrew, since there is no access to the warm and humming bits down the back inflight. Maybe if you're a maintenance guy... The forward operational cabin area is quite liveable, and there is a rest area and galley area amidships.

3 - They are quite usable, just not fully usable quite yet.

4 - They have, of course, been fully flight tested within the AAR capability (and every other capability for that matter). The test pilots don't report any handling problems at all, taking into consideration that flying in close proximity to another airplane is not a safe procedure for any airplane.
The handling charactistics in normal ops is slightly different, and the approach speeds have been slightly modified to improve that, but as a '73 pilot, it would be just noticeable. Remember, they are 27K engines.

5 - Make that 3 years, exactly, the original delivery was due on 26NOV06.
VB has been utilizing these pilots to-, as you say, "keep their hand in", and yes there is a fully operational 737AEW&C OFT (the only one in the world) at WLM, and it's amazing to see!
Maybe I can change that to "..that Northrup promised."

6 - and Willoz269, everything you noted there is rubbish. Remember, the project has been designed and built by professionals, it's a first-of-type.
I say again....rubbish!
Remember, it's an IGW 737 with only 21 pob and some electronics stuff, how overweight can that get!
The AFCS operates quite normally, though it's configuration is slightly changed.
"Severely overweight", where did you hear that rubbish.
As a matter of fact, the OFT was decided to be changed to the AEW&C flight characteristics at the last moment, that's how close the flight characteristics were to each other!

Really...it's a great piece of kit!

27th Nov 2009, 02:47
I know for a FACT the weight of the crew was most definitely factored in - even to the point of knowing the weight of the standard "kit" the crew would carry on board with them!

27th Nov 2009, 03:36
Well guys, I am glad so feel so patriotic about it....yes, it was designed by professionals, who got things wrong enough to delay the project by 3 years and counting...

And yes, the mistakesI listed DID happen, I know this for a fact, I wont say how, but I am happy enough to know. If you guys dont want to believe, good luck to you.

Going Boeing
27th Nov 2009, 09:00
The Wedgetail aircraft is a 'first of type' development and extremely complex, given the range of cutting-edge radar technology and sensors that will be incorporated into each aircraft

(November 26, 2009) -- The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has today taken initial delivery of two Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft from Boeing.

AEW&C Program Manager, Air Vice Marshal Chris Deeble said the aircraft - known as 'Wedgetail' - is critical to Australia's Air Combat Capability and will play a key role in achieving the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) network-enabled war fighting capability.

"The Wedgetail aircraft is a 'first of type' development and extremely complex, given the range of cutting-edge radar technology and sensors that will be incorporated into each aircraft.

"Development, test and evaluation are still ongoing with many hurdles still to be overcome, particularly with respect to radar, electronic support measures and integrated system performance and stability.

"However with the initial delivery of two aircraft, Defence will now be able to conduct familiarisation training while Boeing completes the remaining test program and acceptance activities," AVM Deeble said.

"When fully operational, Wedgetail will enhance surveillance, air defence, fleet support and force coordination operations."

Boeing has currently scheduled initial acceptance of the first two aircraft for the first quarter 2010 when the aircraft will come into Commonwealth ownership.

The Commonwealth will eventually acquire six Wedgetail aircraft at a cost of more than (AUS) $4 billion.

Source : MoD Australia

27th Nov 2009, 11:04
I think you might find that it's now the first quarter 2011 (4+ years), EWS is now the problem apparently ...

Asia-Pacific Aerospace Report 25/11/09

28th Nov 2009, 05:49
I bet it's a lot of fun trying to fly accurate formation in a 737. Lots of trimming......

28th Nov 2009, 23:00
Are all those pointy bits on top to stop magpie attacks :confused:

Flight Detent
29th Nov 2009, 10:25
Hey Willoz269...

With your continuing uninformed comment regarding performance, CoG and AUW..

Your credibility is suffering here..

The figures relating to OEW, the weights relating to fuel remaining after the second jettison cycle, and the landing maximum weights, they all work out just fine. CoG is automatically taken care of during both AAR and jettison.

Remember, this is an -700IGW 27K airplane that has more than enough performance capability to cope with it's anticipated operating environment.


Shot Nancy
29th Nov 2009, 16:31
Hey give the aircraft a break. It will achieve operational readiness.
The real issue will arise when the non-pilot mission commanders want to log "Captain" time.

P.S. Never fly the "A" Model of anything.

Going Boeing
7th May 2010, 14:20
(RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, May 5, 2010) -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced that the Commonwealth of Australia has accepted the first two Project Wedgetail 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft into the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fleet.

The aircraft were accepted during a ceremony today at RAAF Base Williamtown, the main operating base for the Wedgetail fleet.

"This major milestone demonstrates that the 737 AEW&C system is ready for operational training and use. It also represents the culmination of years of design, development, modification and testing by the Boeing-led team to bring this complex system -- the first of its type -- to our first AEW&C customer," said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing vice president, AEW&C Program.

Acceptance of the two Wedgetail aircraft means ground and flight operations and maintenance of the aircraft are now fully under RAAF control. Boeing delivered the two aircraft last year and has been supporting RAAF familiarization training on the AEW&C system, which includes the aircraft as well as the Operational Flight Trainer, Operational Mission Simulator and Mission Support System.

Boeing will deliver three more Wedgetail aircraft to the RAAF by the end of this year, including one upgraded in the final AEW&C configuration with Electronic Support Measures. All aircraft in the Wedgetail fleet will be upgraded to the final configuration in early 2011.

Project Wedgetail includes six 737 AEW&C aircraft, plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 commercial airplane, the 737 AEW&C aircraft is designed to provide airborne battle-management capability with an advanced multirole electronically scanned radar and 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles that are able to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously. The mission crew can direct offensive and defensive forces while maintaining continuous surveillance of the operational area.

Boeing also has AEW&C systems in production for Turkey and the Republic of Korea.
Source : The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA)

Big Boost for Australia's Defence Surveillance Capability
Greg Combet today accepted the first two Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft
(May 5, 2010) -- Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, today accepted the first two Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft at RAAF Base Williamtown in Newcastle.

"The two surveillance aircraft will significantly increase Australia's surveillance capabilities and, as outlined in the Rudd Government's Defence White Paper, the Wedgetail will be critical in supporting our future ADF," Mr Combet said.

"Wedgetail aircraft will provide the ADF with the capability to maintain surveillance over a surface area of 400,000 square kilometres at any one time - that is an area 5 times as big as Tasmania.

"Over a 10 hour mission the Wedgetail's sophisticated mission systems and advanced radar will be able to cover four million square kilometres in surveillance, with its primary task being to detect air threats and coordinate our air defence.

"The Wedgetail project has suffered problems, especially in regards to schedule, and has been on the Government's 'projects of concern' list."

"This project was experiencing a variety of problems when the Government was elected but we have put a lot of work into getting it back on track," Mr Combet said.

"Over a decade since the project first started it is finally now ready to be used for Air Force training. I congratulate all parties, including the Department, Air Force and the Wedgetail's manufacturer Boeing who have got us to this point.

"This is good news, although there are still a number of hurdles to overcome. Defence will continue to work alongside Boeing to support the ramp up of training and the final delivery of all six completed aircraft.

"The Royal Australian Air Force will now commence formal training and building operational capability over the next 12 months.

"It is expected the new aircraft will aid the ADF in providing support for our naval fleet, assist in search and rescue and border protection."

Mr Combet said the Wedgetail project has also benefited local industry and local jobs.

"The Wedgetail project will not only boost the nation's defence capabilities but it has benefited local industry and will support 200 local jobs in the sustainment phase of the project."
Source : MoD Australia

7th May 2010, 14:55
Been a long wait.

I applied for a job on this project sometime after the turn of the century, if I recall correctly!!

Eastwest Loco
7th May 2010, 15:21
Another Rudd Government oversight.

They left off the hard points for the wooden boat seeking Air to Surface missiles.


Best all


Captain Sand Dune
7th May 2010, 22:29
But does anything other than the engines work?

training wheels
8th May 2010, 05:16
Do you think Virgin Blue will update their live2air antennas with the ones shown on these 737s? ;)

Jethro Gibbs
8th May 2010, 09:23
I applied for a job on this project sometime after the turn of the century, if I recall correctly!!

And there still not finished what a debacle wonder how much this is going to have cost cost once they are at the point of actually working.

9th May 2010, 14:34
With regards to the Wedgetail being pressed to the limits by its very high dry operating weight and the drag penalty of the external sensors...perhaps we should have used the B767 as the platform as opposed to the 737?

10th May 2010, 02:05
CSD- I bet the coffee machine and the galley work just fine!!:ok:

10th May 2010, 03:09
"This project was experiencing a variety of problems when the Government was elected but we have put a lot of work into getting it back on track," Mr Combet said."

What a joke. The Krudd government fixing something? Give me a break please. The RAAF & Boeing guys & gals must squirm when they hear that crap.