|Role||Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C)|
|Manufacturer||Boeing Defense, Space & Security (modifications) |
Boeing Commercial Airplanes (original 737 Next Generation design)
|Primary users||Royal Australian Air Force|
Turkish Air Force
Republic of Korea Air Force
|Developed from||Boeing 737 Next Generation|
The Boeing 737 AEW&C is a twin-engine airborne early warning and control aircraft based on the Boeing 737 Next Generation design. It is lighter than the 707-based Boeing E-3 Sentry, and has a fixed, active electronically scanned array radar antenna instead of a rotating one. It was designed for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) under “Project Wedgetail” and designated E-7A Wedgetail.
The 737 AEW&C has also been selected by the Turkish Air Force (under “Project Peace Eagle”, Turkish: Barış Kartalı, designated E-7T the Republic of Korea Air Force (“Project Peace Eye”, Korean: and the United Kingdom (designated Wedgetail AEW1)
The Australian Department of Defence evaluated industry proposals for airborne surveillance and early warning systems as early as 1986. Further studies led to the approval of the first phase of Project AIR 5077 in 1994. In 1996, Australia issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the aircraft for the RAAF under Project Wedgetail, which refers to the indigenous eagle. In 1999, Australia awarded Boeing Integrated Defense Systems a contract to supply four AEW&C aircraft with options for three additional aircraft.
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In October 2018, the British Government announced that it was in talks with Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force about the potential for the E-7 Wedgetail to replace its E-3D fleet. The apparent decision to proceed with procurement without a competition received some criticism, with the Ministry of Defence accused of displaying favouritism towards Boeing, while Saab voiced its opposition to the “non-competitive” deal as it could offer the Erieye system mounted on Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft. On 22 March 2019, it was announced by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson that the UK had signed a $1.98 billion deal to purchase five E-7 Wedgetails
The 737 AEW&C has also been selected by the Turkish Air Force (under "Project Peace Eagle", Turkish: Barış Kartalı, designated E-7T), the Republic of Korea Air Force ("Project Peace Eye", Korean: "피스 아이"), and the United Kingdom (designated Wedgetail AEW1).