NATO chooses Boeing E-7A aircraft as next AWACS platformNews
November 17, 2023
CAPELLEN, Luxembourg. NATO announced that it will use the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail aircraft as its next airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform, as it embarks on an overhaul of its aging E-3A AWACS [Airborne Warning And Control System] fleet.
The NATO announcement describes the E-7 Wedgetail -- based on a militarized version of the Boeing 737 airliner -- as an advanced AEW&C aircraft equipped with a powerful radar to detect hostile aircraft, missiles, and ships at great distances and then direct NATO fighter jets to their targets. The U.S., U.K., and Turkey also either already fly the E-7 or plan to use it.
NATO has operated its fleet of E-3A AWACS aircraft since the 1980s, out of its home at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen in Germany. The first Wedgetail is expected to be delivered to NATO by 2031.
NATO officials state that the Wedgetail will be part of the alliance’s future surveillance and control project which will field NATO’s next generation of surveillance systems from the mid-2030s.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said of the E-7A decision: “By pooling resources, Allies can buy and operate major assets collectively that would be too expensive for individual countries to purchase. This investment in state-of-the-art technology shows the strength of transatlantic defense cooperation as we continue to adapt to a more unstable world”.