Boeing's E-7A Wedgetail aircraft is set to replace NATO's fleet of 14 E-3A Sentry advanced warning aircraft. With the E-3A aircraft reaching the end of their lifespan in the early 2030s, the decision for their replacement seems timely and practical. Managed by NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Programme Management Agency (NAPMA), the E-3A aircraft have been in service for years.
E-7A Wedgetail Aircraft and NATO
Boeing’s Contract and E-7A’s Advanced Capabilities
Boeing had previously won a contract in 2019 worth 750 million euros for extending the life of the E-3A Sentry aircraft till 2035. The E-7A Wedgetail's selection can be attributed to its usage by the US Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and the Turkish Air Force, and its superior capabilities. It boasts long-range warning and air control capabilities, and possesses the ability to detect hostile aircraft, missiles, and ships from a great distance. It is also capable of guiding NATO fighters to their targets.
E-7A’s Pricing and Radar System
While the purchasing cost of the six E-7A Wedgetail aircraft has not been publicly disclosed by NATO, it is interesting to note the comparison with the Royal Air Force (RAF). The RAF originally allocated 2.1 billion pounds (2.4 billion euros) for five aircraft, but later revised it to three units for 1.89 billion pounds (2.1 billion euros). The E-7A Wedgetail's primary system is the MESA radar supplied by Northrop Grumman, which the British Ministry of Defense has committed to acquiring five of.
Other Potential Solutions
In February, Sweden's Saab had expressed an interest to offer a solution based on its GlobalEye system in response to NATO's request for information.