The AEW&C airborne system combines the new high-performance Boeing 737-700 aircraft with the new technology Northrop Grumman Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar. Included in the platform are an advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system; an expanded, passive electronic surveillance system; a flexible, open-system architecture and a highly effective self-defence capability.
The 737-700, which features state-of-the-art avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck, is the most popular and reliable jet aircraft in the world. Airlines and operators have ordered more than 5000 with more than 3100 having been delivered. This large in-service fleet is supported by a world-wide infrastructure of suppliers, parts and support equipment. With its speed, extended range and ability to fly to altitudes of more than 40,000 feet, the Next-Generation 737-700 offers an ideal airborne early warning and control platform.
Using the latest sensor technology, Northrop Grumman's 360-degree electronically steerable beam MESA radar is able to track air and sea targets simultaneously and can help the operator track high-performance aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area. More than 600 hours of wind tunnel testing have demonstrated the compatibility of the aircraft and the radar.
The 737 AEW&C platform, with its advanced technology and interoperability with the E-3 and 767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, is designed to fill the airborne-surveillance needs of Australia and the world-wide market. Australia is the launch customer; the 737 AEW&C system has also been selected by Turkey and a number of other proposals are in varying stages of maturity.
For the Wedgetail Project, Boeing and Northrop Grumman are joined by BAE SYSTEMS Australia, who will provide the passive surveillance system, electronic warfare self-protect system, operational mission simulator (OMS), AEW&C support facility (ASF) and mission support segment (MSS).