Saturday, September 26, 2009

Boeing Shows Off Turkish Air Force 737 AEW&C Aircraft



Dubai Air Show

Boeing Shows Off Turkish Air Force 737 AEW&C Aircraft


At the Dubai Airshow this week, Boeing unveiled a 737 airborne early warning and communications (AEW&C) aircraft, dubbed Peace Eagle, built for the Turkish Air Force.

The AEW&C aircraft has begun development flight-testing, said Craig Fish, Boeing’s 737 AEW&C United Arab Emirates chief engineer. The plane on display is the first of four ordered by Turkey and is undergoing modification by Turkish Aerospace Industry, a local partner on the program.

The militarized 737 carries a Northrop Grumman multimission electronically scanned array (MESA), whose short fin on the fuselage handles radar and identification-friend-or-foe functions. The radar, which is interoperable with U.S. and coalition forces, can track targets while maintaining a 360-degree lookout for aircraft and ships, said Mark Ellis, Boeing’s Peace Eagle program manager.

The contract for the Turkey Peace Eagle program was signed November 2006. Export has been approved by the U.S. Congress. The first functional flight check was completed in August, the first mission system flight test was completed in October, and the system functional checkout of aircraft one is proceeding in Seattle. Modifications to the remaining three aircraft are under way at the TAI facility in Ankara, Ellis said.

Ellis said Australia and South Korea have also ordered 737 AEW&Cs.

The U.S. government approved the export license for the South Korean aircraft in July, subcontract placement was finalized in September, and the supplier kickoff meeting and program management review were in August.

“We are getting ready for our second [program management review],” Ellis said. The program will begin initial requirement review in December. Delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled in 2011, and the final three in 2012.

Australia has bought six similar aircraft, named Wedgetail, which will be delivered for customer acceptance in 2009, Ellis said. Mission system flight-testing was scheduled for late 2007 for the first aircraft and radar/ESM flight-testing, and communications integration processing are ongoing on the second aircraft. The remaining four aircraft are undergoing modifications in Australia.