RAF Wedgetail being fitted with a new 360 degree sensor 041122 CREDIT RAF.jpg
RAF Wedgetail surveillance aircraft being fitted with a new 360 degree sensor (Picture: RAF).
RAF

RAF Lossiemouth to receive £83m upgrades to house new E-7 Wedgetail surveillance fleet

RAF Wedgetail being fitted with a new 360 degree sensor 041122 CREDIT RAF.jpg
RAF Wedgetail surveillance aircraft being fitted with a new 360 degree sensor (Picture: RAF).

RAF Lossiemouth is set to receive an £83m investment so that the Scottish base is ready to receive the UK's latest surveillance aircraft.

It is thought the investment will create around 125 jobs in the local area, including seven new trainee positions in engineering and construction.

Scottish business McLaughlin & Harvey Construction Limited has been awarded a contract to build a new facility at the existing RAF site, to house the new UK E-7 Wedgetail fleet.

This investment news comes after pictures posted to Twitter revealed the RAF's new surveillance aircraft fleet being built.

Wedgetail e-7 radar DATE 05122022 CREDIT RAF.jpg
The E-7 will provide intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance for the RAF (Picture: RAF).

Minister for Defence Procurement Alex Chalk said: "This is another significant investment for defence in Scotland, creating hundreds of jobs and bolstering the local economy.

"Scotland has a proud history as home to some our most critical defence assets, and this investment will enable the new fleet of cutting-edge E-7 aircraft to support that vital capability."

The E-7 will provide intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance for the RAF. 

With its radar capable of simultaneously tracking multiple airborne and maritime targets, the E-7 aircraft uses the information it gathers to improve situational awareness and direct assets such as fighter jets and warships.

Watch: SRS The eyes and ears of UK Commando Force.

What is the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft?

The E-7 Wedgetail is based on a standard Boeing 737 airliner aircraft.

The Wedgetail, however, is modified, and it 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 take-off and it can cover 4,000,000 sq km 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.

Wedgetail aircaft DATE 05122022 CREDIT RAF.jpg
The E-7 aircraft will be operated by 8 Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth (Picture: RAF).

Air Commodore Alex Hicks, the Wedgetail programme lead for the RAF, said: "The contract signing for the construction of the UK Wedgetail operating facility is a significant achievement, and I would like to thank everyone involved in making it happen.

"The facility is a critical enabler for the Wedgetail capability allowing the full potential of the aircraft to be realised."

He added: "It will also play a significant role in providing industrial resilience to the local community and wider Scotland."

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