December 27, 2012
Credit: Credit: Boeing
Australia has removed the Wedgetail Boeing 737-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) program from its Projects of Concern list following delivery of all six aircraft and achievement in November of initial operational capability (IOC).
The A$3.2 billion ($3.3 billion) Wedgetail program was added to the Projects of Concern list in January 2008 because of schedule delays and system performance issues. A remediation plan was agreed with Boeing in 2011, resetting IOC for 2012.
According to the Australian Defense Materiel Organization’s (DMO) website, the first 737 AEW&C in fully operational configuration was to be redelivered by Boeing this month, with final operational capability planned to be declared in 2013.
The Airbus A330-based KC-30B multi-role tanker/transport, NH Industries MRH90 multi-role helicopter and an electronic support measures upgrade for the Lockheed AP-3C maritime-patrol aircraft remain on the updated watchlist.
Australia is taking delayed delivery of five boom-equipped KC-30Bs and has ordered 46 MRH90s. The DMO says 18 MRH90s were to have been delivered by this month, with three of them in a rolling retrofit program being updated to final configuration by Eurocopter.
Also removed from the Projects of Concern is the program to acquire EuroTorp MU90 lightweight torpedoes to replace the Mk46 weapons now carried by Anzac- and Adelaide-class frigates, after IOC was declared in November.
Added to the watchlist is a program to upgrade the Australian army’s close-combat capability with an improved M3 Carl Gustav anti-tank weapon and a new lightweight automatic grenade launcher. IOC for the grenade launcher has slipped by almost five years, says the ministry.
Previous programs removed from the list after remediation include the Eurocopter Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter, Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, AAI Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft and Boeing-developed Vigilaire air-defense command and control system.
Australia, meanwhile, in December declared final operation capability with its 24 Boeing F/A-18Fs, and is to submit a letter of request to the U.S. seeking cost and availability data on an additional 24 Super Hornets as an option to manage delays with the Lockheed Martin F-35.