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Australia inks $582.5 million deal with Boeing to upgrade aircraft

By Richard Tomkins
Australia inks $582.5 million deal with Boeing to upgrade aircraft
By mid-2022, Australia will have updated its fleet of E-7A Wedgetail aircraft with new sensors and other systems. Photo Courtesy Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

July 5 (UPI) -- Australia is upgrading the early-warning and control capabilities of its fleet of E-7A Wedgetail aircraft with new sensors and other systems.

The $582.5 million deal with Boeing Defense Australia was announced Wednesday by Marise Payne, minister for defense, and Christopher Pyne, minister for defense industry, in a Royal Australian Air Force news release.

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"The Wedgetail is a modified Boeing 737-700, with the addition of advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array radar and 10 mission crew consoles," Pyne said in a statement. "It is one of the most advanced pieces of aerospace technology in the Australian Defense Force.

In addition to the new sensors, the Royal Australian Air Force's aircraft will receive tactical data links and communication and encryption systems.

"The upgrades are an important step in maintaining a potent Australia air combat force and will ensure continued interoperability with Australian allies including the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization members,'' Payne said in a statement.

The project will be completed by mid-2022.

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