UK considering trimming Boeing E-7A buy

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The Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) procurement of Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft is potentially being cut from five aircraft to three.

According to The Times, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to revise the current order of five aircraft to three, but may also reduce the order by one aircraft.

The MoD was unavailable for comment.

The RAF may now only receive three E-7A Wedgetail aircraft, instead of the five originally planned. (Crown Copyright)

The RAF may now only receive three E-7A Wedgetail aircraft, instead of the five originally planned. (Crown Copyright)


Former UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson signed a deal in March 2019 for five aircraft, valued at USD1.98 billion (then GBP1.51 billion), to replace the RAF’s fleet of E-3D Sentry AEW&C aircraft. The deal was met with some concern over the lack of adherence to a competitive tendering process by the UK, and the speed at which a decision was made. It was revealed in the UK’s Defence and Equipment Plan 2019–2029 on 27 February 2020 that the programme was valued at GBP2.16 billion.

In a written answer to parliament on 6 May, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin clarified that “the cost of the acquisition of the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft has not increased. The figure of GBP1.51 billion relates to the value of the aircraft procurement contract, whereas the figure of GBP2.16 billion refers to the approved project costs, the scope of which covers more than just the acquisition of the aircraft including work on infrastructure and training and on future support/sustainment, hence the larger amount.”

 
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Would love to see Turkey get the two more E-7T's that were an option in the original contract. These things are true force multipliers.
 

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