VIII Squadron's badge will feature on the aircraft's tail fin
VIII Squadron's badge will feature on the aircraft's tail fin (Picture: Boeing).
RAF

RAF's new Wedgetail surveillance aircraft livery revealed

VIII Squadron's badge will feature on the aircraft's tail fin
VIII Squadron's badge will feature on the aircraft's tail fin (Picture: Boeing).

The Royal Air Force has revealed the livery of its new Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning (E-7) aircraft.

The aircraft will operate from RAF Lossiemouth by VIII Squadron and will feature the squadron's badge, an Arabian dagger, on the tail fin.

Known as a jambiya, the dagger is sheathed to symbolize the squadron's guardian duties and represents the unit's association with Arabia.

As well as the dagger badge, the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force shield appears on the nose of the aircraft.

The Wedgetail is being procured by the RAF to provide long-range air surveillance.

It collects information to provide the crew with a real-time picture of both aircraft and ships across a specific area – with crew then providing direction to aircraft and commanders on the ground.

A look at the livery from each side of the aircraft
A look at the livery from each side of the aircraft (Picture: Boeing).

Air Commodore Alex Hicks, Assistant Chief of Staff for Capability ISR, RAF, is responsible for the delivery of the aircraft into the RAF.

He told Forces News until 2024, when the aircraft enters service, the RAF does have a capability gap, but said the Wedgetail is a "step change", with the aircraft representing a "5th generation enhancement in capability" when compared to its predecessor - the E3D aircraft.

He added the RAF will get their hands on the Wedgetail in 2023, with the aircraft set to go through a "design, test and evaluation phase".

"That's really making sure we understand what the aircraft can do and does do," Air Cdre Hicks said.

"And then in 2024, we'll start with our hands on proper and doing the operational training of how we want to operate it."

Watch: Wedgetail surveillance aircraft a 'step change' for the RAF.

What is the Wedgetail?

The E-7, measuring 110ft and 4in in length, is based on a standard Boeing 737 airliner aircraft.

However, the Wedgetail is modified and carries a Northrop Grumman Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) surveillance radar and a sophisticated mission computer system.

The radar is operationally ready minutes after takeoff and it can cover four million square kilometres over a 10-hour period, meaning it can track multiple targets simultaneously.

Information gathered by E-7s would be used by the Armed Forces to provide situational awareness and direct other assets such as fighter jets or warships.