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Marshall begins initial work on RAF’s new E-7 Wedgetail project for Boeing

Preparatory work for the Royal Air Force’s new E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) programme is to begin at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group in Cambridge.

The company has signed a risk reduction contract with Boeing, which selected Marshall to carry out the complex aircraft modification work to build five E-7 aircraft.

An artist's impression of the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. Image: RAF (14087782)
An artist's impression of the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. Image: RAF (14087782)

Following the completion of the preparatory work, Marshall’s engineers will turn the 737 Next-Generation aircraft into E-7s, adding the Northrop Grumman Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) surveillance radar, communication and mission computer systems.

The modfication work, due to begin in Cambridge in early 2021, will sustain hundreds of highly-skilled jobs in the area.

CEO Alistair McPhee said: “We are delighted that we have been selected by Boeing for this role in the delivery of the E-7 and are very proud to be playing such a key role on such a strategically important programme for the UK MOD.

“It is a great validation of the work that we are already doing for the RAF to drive availability of the C-130 fleet and builds on over 50 years of partnering.

“Along with our unrivalled expertise in complex integration projects, it is a clear demonstration of our ability to develop and deliver world-leading applied engineering services.

“We have a team of employees ready to work on this programme which will ensure we are prepared to start immediately on modifying the first aircraft when it arrives with us in Cambridge.

“We will be further growing the team as we move towards 2021 and agree the follow-on work to modify the aircraft as the programme matures.”

The capabilities of the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. Image: RAF (14087787)
The capabilities of the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. Image: RAF (14087787)

The E-7 is designed to modernise the UK’s airborne battle management fleet.

It will be capable of tracking multiple airborne and maritime targets simultaneously, offering surveillance coverage of four million square kilometres in a 10-hour flight.

The AEW&C aircraft are already in use by the Royal Australian Air Force, the Turkish Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force.

Anna Keeling, managing director for Boeing Defence UK, said: “The E-7 programme will provide the RAF with a combat-proven capability that is both low risk and the best capability in the world, and I’m proud

that we will be modifying the planes here in Cambridge and further contributing to the continued growth of aerospace in the UK.

“Boeing and our key supplier Marshall are fully dedicated to delivering the world’s most advanced, proven, capable and reliable command-and-control aircraft to the RAF.”

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