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RAF training Wedgetail crews on RAAF jets

With the RAF set to receive the first of its Wedgetail aircraft in 2024, the service has embedded personnel with the RAAF so as to more quickly stand up the capability. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The UK is furthering preparations for the introduction into service of the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, with the announcement on 5 September that Royal Air Force (RAF) crews are supporting the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in its latest exercises.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that RAF ‘seedcorn' crews were flying aboard a RAAF E-7A aircraft participating in the multinational Exercise ‘Pitch Black 2022' taking place across northern Australia.

“Ahead of the delivery of the first RAF Wedgetail, [the] seedcorn programme has been established with the Royal Australian Air Force, which sees RAF maintainers, technicians, and aircrew embedding within [the RAAF's] 2 Squadron,” the MoD said. “The symbiotic relationship assists the RAAF with the delivery of E-7 capability and will provide a core of experienced personnel to operate UK Wedgetail at RAF Lossiemouth.”

The UK is to receive the first of three E-7As (to be designated Wedgetail AEW1 in national service) in 2024, following the retirement of the Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW1 in 2021. The MoD had earlier told Janes and other defence media that there are 21 E-3D personnel assigned to the RAAF under the Wedgetail seedcorn project.

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