Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Role||Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C)|
|First Flight||2004 (Projected)|
|Entered Service||2006 (Projected)|
|Length||110 ft 4 in||33.6 m|
|Wingspan||117 ft 2 in||34.3 m|
|Height||41 ft 2 in||12.5 m|
|Empty||102,750 lb||46,606 kg|
|Maximum Takeoff||171,000 lb||77,564 kg|
|Engines||CFMI CFM56-7 turbofans|
|Thrust (est)||2 × 27,000 lbf||2 × 120 kN|
|Maximum Speed||544 mph||875 km/h|
|Combat Range||3,800 n mi||7,040 km|
|Service Ceiling||41,000 ft||12,500 m|
|Rate of Climb||ft/min||m/min|
|Avionics||Northrop 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.
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 contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details