The delivery is for RAF’s new fleet of five Boeing E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) MK1 aircraft worth $1.98bn, which will replace the existing current E-3D Sentry aircraft.
Last year, Boeing selected Thales’s Elix-IR Threat Warner and Leonardo’s DAS controller to equip the RAF’s fleet of Shadow R1 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft.
The aircraft will protect the country against missiles and other fire threats.
Thales said in a statement: “Air platforms are fundamental in the support of warfighting, peace-keeping, peace-enforcement and humanitarian operations worldwide.
“These varied missions often present hostile and threatening conditions to the safety of the crew and passengers. In all operations, air platforms remain high-value assets that present a prime target for conventional and unconventional adversaries alike.”
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Elix-IR is an advanced multi-function passive Threat Warning System (TWS) that provides functionalities of a simultaneous Missile Approach Warner (MAW) and Hostile Fire Indication (HFI) solution.
It is used on rotary and fixed-wing platforms, including helicopters, transport aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and VIP aircraft.
The E-7 is based on a standard Boeing 737 airliner modified to carry Northrop Grumman’s active electronically scanned radar. This is capable of covering four million square kilometres over a period of ten hours.
In March last year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson signed a deal to purchase five E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. The E-7 fleet will ensure the continued delivery of the UK’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability.