USA USAF E 7 Wedgetail image Al Clark 640USAF will replace Sentry with Wedgetail

On 26 April 2022, the USAF announced that, based on market research, the Department of the Air Force (DAF) has decided to replace a part of the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet with the E-7 Wedgetail, which is produced by The Boeing Company.

The Boeing E-7 is the only platform capable of meeting the requirements for the Defense Department’s tactical battle management, command and control, and moving target indication capabilities within the timeframe needed to replace the aging E-3.

On 1 December 2021, Scramble Magazine reported that the USAF would announce in 2022 their plans to purchase the E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft.

A contract award is planned for Fiscal Year 2023. The President’s FY23 Budget request includes USD 227 million in Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation funds starting in FY23. These funds support the acquisition of a rapid E-7 prototype aircraft planned to be delivered in FY27. The notional schedule plans for a second rapid prototype aircraft funded in FY24 and a production decision in FY25 to continue fielding aircraft.

During FY23, the USAF wants to retire fifteen E-3 aircraft (out of 31) at Tinker AFB (OK). It has been stated that the E-3 Sentry has become difficult to maintain, with poor mission capable rates. In the coming years sixteen E-3s will remain, but the USAF has not decided when they will be phased out completely.

Credit illustrative photo: Al Clark (

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