It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Wedgetail Early warning system three years late

page: 1

log in


posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 11:56 PM
The Boeing Company will provide the Commonwealth of Australia's Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system based on the Next-Generation 737-700 aircraft as the airborne platform. The program, named "Wedgetail" after our native eagle, provides a total capability to the Commonwealth and consists of five segments: Airborne Mission Systems (AMS) AEW&C Support Facility (ASF) Operational Mission Simulator (OMS) Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) Mission Support Segment (MSS) which also includes Initial Support Period (ISS) for operation, maintenance and support plus through-life-support and the building to house the ground segments. The Boeing AEW&C Solution The AEW&C airborne system combines the new high-performance Boeing 737-700 aircraft with the new technology Northrop Grumman Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar. Included in the platform are an advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system; an expanded, passive electronic surveillance system; a flexible, open-system architecture and a highly effective self-defence capability. The 737-700, which features state-of-the-art avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck, is the most popular and reliable jet aircraft in the world. Airlines and operators have ordered more than 5000 with more than 3100 having been delivered. This large in-service fleet is supported by a world-wide infrastructure of suppliers, parts and support equipment. With its speed, extended range and ability to fly to altitudes of more than 40,000 feet, the Next-Generation 737-700 offers an ideal airborne early warning and control platform. Using the latest sensor technology, Northrop Grumman's 360-degree electronically steerable beam MESA radar is able to track air and sea targets simultaneously and can help the operator track high-performance aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area. More than 600 hours of wind tunnel testing have demonstrated the compatibility of the aircraft and the radar. The 737 AEW&C platform, with its advanced technology and interoperability with the E-3 and 767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, is designed to fill the airborne-surveillance needs of Australia and the world-wide market. Australia is the launch customer; the 737 AEW&C system has also been selected by Turkey and a number of other proposals are in varying stages of maturity. For the Wedgetail Project, Boeing and Northrop Grumman are joined by BAE SYSTEMS Australia, who will provide the passive surveillance system, electronic warfare self-protect system, operational mission simulator (OMS), AEW&C support facility (ASF) and mission support segment (MSS). Boeing Australia's Involvement Boeing Australia has been involved in key roles throughout the concept definition, proposal, tender and Initial Design Activity (IDA) phases of the project, commencing in 1996. As a result of the Government's decision to in May 2004 to increase the total number of aircraft to six, the modification of four of these will now be completed by the Boeing Aerospace Support Centre at Amberley, Queensland. The first of these aircraft arrived at Amberley in January 2006. Boeing Australia's engineering staff are integrated within the Seattle-based Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) and form the core of the technical support organisation who have responsibility for through-life support of the systems in Australia. Boeing Australia has wide logistics support responsibility (including logistics support analysis, training and documentation) for the project with key logistics staff integrated into the Seattle IPTs. In summary, the key areas of Boeing Australia's involvement are: Engineering Support Component Design & Manufacture Logistic Support Operational Flight Trainer AEW&C Support Centre Initial Support

PROJECT Wedgetail, Australia's $3.5 billion airborne early warning project, is now officially running three years late.

Boeing confirmed yesterday that the first of the six planes would now be delivered in 2010 - 36 months behind schedule.

The Wedgetail project is designed to provide the RAAF with a highly sophisticated airborne surveillance system.
The Australian


Primary users,
Royal Australian Air Force
Turkish Air Force
Republic of Korea Air Force

Seems boeing is having problems all around

posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 05:15 AM
The problem hasn't been all Boeing however. There have been system integration problems right from the start with the Wedgetail. The biggest delay has been radar software which wasn't Boeing's fault.

posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 05:59 AM
Threaten to cut the deal unless they give as a few FREE ones, heck, threaten to cut F-18F deal unless they give us free ones.
I take it the aircraft will be maintained by Qantas? I thought Wedgetail was to have raked winglets? How many are we getting? What's MESA stand for?

[edit on 12/6/2008 by C0bzz]

posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 06:04 AM
I love living in Australia and am a proud ex-service member, but stuff like this just makes me cringe. What is wrong with our procurement processes that scandalous incompetence like this is tolerated by government after government?

Collins class submarines, Sea Sprite helicopters for the ANZAC frigates, HMAS MANOORA and KANIMBLA and Project Wedgetail...I don't know the cumulated cost of the problems with these projects, but I do know it is in the billions.

There needs to be some serious investigations, perhaps even Royal comissions into some of these projects and the incompetence identified with the culprits sacked or prosecuted or both.

While I have no evidence at all, I suspect there's been some handsome kickbacks and comissions paid to individuals from both the public service and contract companies involved in these projects.

Our tiny Defence force does wonders with what it has, and constantly has its wishes ignored by politicians and the public service alike when it comes to procuring new capabilities. Unfortunately, cases like these lower morale as the public percieve it to be incompetence on the part of the services themselves, when the reality is far from the truth.

Sometimes its hard to keep your chin up...

posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 06:27 AM
reply to post by C0bzz

your right

Qantas Defence Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas Airways.

Qantas is providing increasing support for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF):
Partnered with EADS for the supply of Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport to replace the RAAF's Boeing 707s in the aerial refueling and strategic transport roles
Lease to RAAF of 2 Boeing Business Jets, including maintenance
Support of RAAF Boeing Wedgetail aircraft
Deeper Level maintenance support of the RAAF's fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft

posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:44 PM
While it is certainly no excuse for Boeing in this case, the fact is that the problem is not confined to Australia, nor to Boeing. The problem is world-wide and industry-wide. The question one must ask is obviously - are the companies simply stupid and over optimistic or are they deliberately deceitful?

I would observe that when it comes to computers, the salesmen seem to believe that programmers can simply write a few lines of code and change the laws of physics and solve any manner of problem. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Have a think about just how many projects have been delayed over the last decade by the software. So, it would seem that all parties are over optimistic about what can be done with the computers, and how long it will take to solve 'the impossible'.

Certainly, while most military equipment manufacturers are in the same boat, it is my observation that Boeing has been a particular culprit when it comes to program slippage (and cost over-run), so I think the problem goes deeper in their case. I, for one, am beginning to believe that Boeing is now incapable of meeting any budget or deadline (internally or externally imposed) on any project, and from that perspective, wonder about the future of the company. How long will customers put up with it?

So, it seems that when it comes to military equipment purchases it would be wise for all customers to apply a factor of five to the cost and at least three to the timescale as put forward by any manufacturer - sad isn't it!

Perhaps (with Sea Sprites in mind - another matter of the programmers not being able to change the laws of physics) one should only view the timelines as offered by manufacturers as pure fiction and make no assumptions about whether the product will even do what it is claimed to do.

Do I have to say that perhaps it's time to write in some penalty clauses to these contracts (and let's make them fixed price as well while we're at it). Certainly, if you want a tunnel dug these days, if it isn't done on time then the construction company starts to pay you! Now that would prompt some realistic timelines!

The Winged Wombat

posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 04:37 AM

Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
Do I have to say that perhaps it's time to write in some penalty clauses to these contracts (and let's make them fixed price as well while we're at it). Certainly, if you want a tunnel dug these days, if it isn't done on time then the construction company starts to pay you! Now that would prompt some realistic timelines!

Ahh yes my friend, but only on the assumption that the tunnel is NOT contracted by the NSW Carr/Iemma governments.


posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 10:06 AM
and thers more.............
(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued June 20, 2008)

While Mr Fitzgibbon was encouraged by the capabilities displayed by BAE Systems Australia, he remained firm in his position that all of the companies involved in the delivery of the Wedgetail project must lift their game to ensure that there are no further delays to the project.

“I was disappointed to be informed recently by the prime contractor on the project, Boeing, that there will be a further slippage of 10 months in the delivery of the first fully capable aircraft. This is a total delay of 38 months against the original contract the former Government entered into,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Boeing now proposes adopting an incremental delivery approach and plans to deliver the first two aircraft, capable of undertaking training roles and national peacetime tasking, in July 2009, and subsequently upgrade them to fully mission capable status by January 2010. Boeing plans to deliver the remaining aircraft as fully mission-capable aircraft in early 2010.

“While I am assured by Defence that this current delay can be managed without materially impacting Australia’s air combat capability, industry must continue to make a sustained effort until program completion in order to meet Australia’s war fighting capability requirements,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Now we are up to 38 weeks LATE

posted on Jul, 25 2008 @ 07:26 AM
Slow Wedgetails damage Boeing

A THREE-year delay in Australia's Wedgetail Early Warning and Control program dragged down the second-quarter results of US aerospace giant Boeing and forced it to account for a $US248 million ($258 million) charge.

The $US248 million charge stems from Australia's decision to stop payments on its six 737-based Wedgetails because of delays, and this wiped 22c a share from the company's earnings. The aircraft, three of which are already in Australia, were originally intended to be fully operational by 2006.

The Australian

The shareholders wouldnt be pleased.

posted on Jul, 25 2008 @ 07:53 AM

Originally posted by Jezza

The shareholders wouldnt be pleased.

Which means hopefully something will be done finally.


log in