Naval Air: Wedgetail And The Little Birds

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April 17, 2009: Australia ran a successful test where one of their Wedgetail AWACS (which is also able to perform maritime reconnaissance) aircraft was able to control three ScanEagle UAVs. This enables the Wedgetail to expand its recon capabilities, using its own AESA radar and the video on the UAVs to quickly identify land or sea traffic.

Australia is using militarized Boeing 737 transports as the basis for its new Wedgetail maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The cruise speed for the 737 is 910 kilometers an hour and the Wedgetail version has a crew of 8-12 pilots and equipment operators, who use the search radar and various other sensors. The 737 has hard points on the wings for torpedoes or missiles. Any UAV with suitable communications equipment can be controlled by the Wedgetail. This technique has also been tested with fighter-bombers controlling UAVs.

 


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