The Department of the Air Force has selected the Boeing-built E-7 Wedgetail aircraft to replace part of its fleet of E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system planes, the service reported Tuesday.
The military branch said the selection was based on market research and that the E-7 Wedgetail platform could meet the Department of Defense’s requirements for command and control, moving target indication and tactical battle management capabilities.
The Air Force plans to award a contract in fiscal year 2023 to Boeing to replace a portion of the E-3 Sentry AWACS fleet with E-7, which was developed by Australia for its defense forces.
The president’s FY 2023 budget request proposes to divest 15 of the 31 AWACS aircraft in the fleet and includes research, development, test and evaluation funds worth $227 million to support the procurement of the first rapid prototype aircraft set for delivery by FY 2027.
The Air Force said it intends to fund a second rapid prototype aircraft in FY 2024 and make a production decision in FY 2025 to facilitate Wedgetail deployment.
In October 2021, the service announced its plan to award a sole-source contract to Boeing to analyze the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft configuration as it looks to replace its E-3 aircraft.