Australian Air Force to send surveillance aircraft to Germany to support Ukraine

E-7A Wedgetail. Credit: Ryan Fletcher /

The Australian government will deploy a surveillance aircraft to Germany to help ensure the flow of military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.  

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the deployment on July 10, 2023, following discussions with the German chancellor, a day before attending a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania where the war in Ukraine is expected to be the primary topic. 

Albanese confirmed that Australia is firmly committed to supporting Ukraine’s defense “against Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion”.  

The Australian Defense Force (ADF) committed to send an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft, including up to 100 crew and support personnel, to Germany for approximately six months starting from October 2023. 

The “Wedgetail” name refers to the Australian Wedgetail Eagle, a bird known for its exceptional vision. The E-7A is based on a Boeing 737-700, with the addition of advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar and 10 mission crew consoles.  

The airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft is capable of both maritime and land surveillance, and able to control hi-performance fighter aircraft while providing air control from the sky. The E-7A Wedgetail was also used in the search for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in 2014. 

“This is an important contribution,” Albanese said during a news conference in Berlin. “Australia, of course, is a long way from Europe. But one of the things that this war has done is remind us that in today’s interconnected globalized world, an event such as the land war in Europe has an impact on the entire world.” 

The ADF aircraft is expected to conduct 13–17-hour missions daily, protecting the delivery of military and humanitarian assets into Ukraine through Poland and other neighboring countries. However, the Australian Prime Minister clarified that it would not be entering Ukrainian, Russian, or Belarusian airspace. 

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