The Royal Air Force’s Wing Commander Sarah McDonnell recently completed a qualifying course in Australia to operate the E-7 Wedgetail.
Administered by the Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing Australia under the RAF’s E-7 Wedgetail AEW1 Programme, the course provided class-based instruction and simulator training to McDonnell and allowed her to fly Australia’s E-7A.
The newly designated squadron commander finished the exercise on board the Wedgetail, which coordinated with an F-35 fighter during the final training session, the RAF said.
After her graduation, the RAF assigned McDonnell to its Seedcorn program, where she will continue training on the E-7 while waiting for the delivery of the United Kingdom’s Wedgetail aircraft.
The program supports Australia’s preparation for the Wedgetail capability and provides experienced personnel to operate the U.K.’s E-7 at the RAF’s Lossiemouth base in Scotland.
McDonnell said the Wedgetail program allowed her to join the team of qualified E-7 Wedgetail operators and equipped her for an upcoming assignment to lead a squadron in the future.
The E-7 is a combat-tested platform that provides the ability to scan the skies, communicate with surface, ground and air assets, and support joint force integration, according to Boeing.
The RAF procured three Wedgetails from Boeing and is scheduled to receive delivery of the first aircraft in late 2024.