Page 6 - Australian Defence Magazine Oct 2018
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UK moves closer to Wedgetail buy
THE UK’s plans to acquire the Boeing E-7 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft came a step closer to re- ality in mid-July, with the arrival of the first three Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel at Williamtown for training on the RAAF’s Wedgetail aircraft.
The RAF is seeking to acquire a replace- ment for its ageing Boeing E-3D Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet and is reportedly consider- ing buying an unspecified number of E-7s via a single source selection process.
ADM understands that the three RAF crewmembers, comprising a pilot, an Elec- tronic Support Measures Operator (ESMO), and a Surveillance and Control Officer be- gan their Wedgetail conversion course with 2 Sqn at Williamtown at that time.
Furthermore, it is understood that at least two USAF personnel also undertook Wedgetail conversion at Williamtown.
“Number 2 Squadron has just taken on-
board some trainees, both from the UK and the US – both pilots and back end mission crew,” 2 Sqn Senior Engineer Officer (SEN- GO) Squadron Leader Shane Taylor said at RAAF Base Tindal. “They will be progress- ing through the training continuum over the coming 12-18 months and certainly other countries are expressing an interest in this capability.”
The news follows the recent demonstra- tion of the Wedgetail’s capability at RAF Waddington, home of the RAF’s Sentry fleet. One aircraft attended the Royal In- ternational Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in July and deployed to Waddington after the show to demonstrate its capabilities to the UK’s AWACS force.
The latest move is also a further blow to Saab, which has proposed its GlobalEye AEW&C solution for the UK requirement. Based on a Bombardier 6000 airframe, the GlobalEye has been purchased by the United Arab Emirates Air Force, the first of which is
currently undergoing flight tests in Sweden. The RAAF maintains an ongoing Wed- getail deployment in the Middle East in support of Operation Okra and the aircraft has reportedly earned a reputation for be- ing the coalition’s ‘AEW&C of choice’ thanks to both its performance and mis-
sion success rate.
One aircraft deployed to Tindal, where it
provided AEW&C coverage to ‘Blue Air’ forces on Exercise Pitch Black. During the exercise, it shared surveillance and control duties with a Gulfstream G550AEW plat- form from the Republic of Singapore Air Force and RAAF ground control units.
“By some margin, the Wedgetail is a world-leading Airborne Early Warning and Control platform (and) it is absolutely demonstrating that it provides exceptional value for money,” SQNLDR Taylor said. “It’s about providing the best situational awareness that you can in a high-end, 5th generation warfight.”
ADF takes delivery of new howitzer ammunition
THE first delivery of Assegai 155mm muni- tions has arrived in Australia, eight months after the contract was executed.
The ammunition is destined for use in the Army's fleet of M777A2 howitzers under the Land 17 Phase 1C.2 Future Artillery Ammunition project. The new shells will
supplement the ADF’s existing ammuni- tion stock and provide increased range, le- thality and first-round-on-target accuracy.
Including the qualification lots and war reserve stocks, the order is worth around $100 million. It also represents the first time that a nation using M777A2 field
howitzers has opted for the Assegai pro- jectile family.
NIOA partnered with Toll Logistics- Mining/Toll Global Forwarding to over- come significant lo- gistical challenges to deliver the munitions into Australia.
In a statement, NIOA said that its partnership with
Rheinmetall Denel Munitions, Nitro- chemie, and Junghans Defence enabled an expedited manufacturing schedule for the various components of the mu- nitions. These include high explosive (HE) munitions, training and illum rounds, modular propellant charges, primers, and fuses.
Further deliveries of pre-formed frag- mentation, insensitive HE and smoke natures are planned for 2019 for the beginning of the ADF’s qualification program.
The contract includes a program to fully qualify the Assegai munitions family in the M777A2s, including integration into the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) fire-support command and control system. The supply of war stock will follow once qualification and integra- tion is complete.
M777A2 in action
6 | October 2018 |

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