Boeing receives $1.2B aircraft development contract
Will develop the E-7 aircraft for Air Force
Arlington-based Boeing Co. will develop two E-7 Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft for the Air Force under a $1.2 billion award announced by the Pentagon Tuesday.
The contract initiates prototype development activities of U.S. variations of the aircraft, which replaces the service’s E-3 aircraft. Work will be performed in Seattle and is expected to be completed by August 2024. The Air Force plans to begin production in fiscal 2025, with the first E-7A expected to be fielded by fiscal 2027, the service said in a news release Tuesday. The Air Force plans to buy a total 26 of the aircraft.
“The E-7A will be the department’s principal airborne sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking, and reporting all airborne activity to Joint Force commanders,” Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in a statement. “This contract award is a critical step in ensuring that the department continues delivering battlespace awareness and management capabilities to U.S. warfighters, allies and partners for the next several decades. The E-7A will enable greater airborne battlespace awareness through its precise, real-time air picture and will be able to control and direct individual aircraft under a wide range of environmental and operational conditions.”
The E-7’s open systems architecture and agile software enable it to evolve and remain ahead of future threats, Boeing said in a news release. The E-7 can track multiple airborne and maritime threats simultaneously with 360-degree coverage using its Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array sensor. The E-7 is based on Boeing’s 737 airliner, and the company said its established supply chain will reduce maintenance and logistics costs while increasing mission readiness.
“The E-7 is a proven platform,” Stu Voboril, Boeing E-7 program vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “It is the only advanced aircraft that is capable of meeting the U.S. Air Force’s near-term airborne early warning and control requirement while enabling integration across the Joint Force.”
Air Forces in Australia, Turkey, South Korea and the United Kingdom each operate E-7 aircraft.