Boeing has signed an agreement with the Commonwealth that consolidates current and future upgrades and sustainment for the life of the RAAF's fleet of six E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.
The Wedgetail Head Agreement Deed consolidates the existing Wedgetail In-Service Support and Project AIR 5077 Phase 5A contracts. It integrates $1.5 billion of these current contracts into a flexible overarching framework.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo welcomed this new contracting framework, which aims to improve the partnership between Defence and Boeing for current and future work and capability upgrades through the life of the Wedgetail capability.
“The Boeing-built Wedgetail was designed for the RAAF and provides airborne surveillance, communications and battle management systems,” Mr Pyne said.
“This important agreement will simplify and make more efficient the contract arrangements that support this world leading capability.”
The Commonwealth also announced the In Service Support Contract (ISSC), which the Wedgetail is sustained through, has been extended through to 2025 under the new framework.
“The extension to the ISSC will allow BDA to deliver long-term value-for-money Wedgetail sustainment services to Defence and see continued growth in Australian industry content, particularly in systems and software engineering,” Minister Ciobo said.
“The fleet sustainment and upgrades that will be delivered under this agreement will ensure the Wedgetail remains the centrepiece of Australia’s national air defence capability and a critical asset for the RAAF,” Darren Edwards, Boeing Defence Australia vice president and managing director, said.
“This agreement is an important step in meeting our First Principles Review reform priorities while continuing to deliver world-leading fifth generation Air Force capability," head of Aerospace Systems Division Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts said.
Boeing’s support for the airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) global fleet across Australia, Turkey and South Korea provides employment for approximately 600 Australians and work across 200 local suppliers.
The E-7A Wedgetail is based on a Boeing 737-700, with the addition of an advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array radar and 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles which can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously.