The first Australian E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft began operations in 2010. The AEW&C aircraft represented an entirely new capability for the ADF, providing a platform that would control the tactical battle space, providing direction for fighter aircrafts, surface combatants and land based elements; as well as supporting aircrafts such as tankers and intelligence platforms. On completion of the acquisition phase, the ADF sought to assess the capability offered by this complex system through the conduct of an Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) program.
Nova Systems were engaged by the Air Force to provide a ‘turn key’ OT&E solution; which involved teams of Nova Systems specialists being responsible for the planning, management, conduct and reporting of this program. Over a 2 year period, Nova Systems helped the ADF develop a capability assessment concept for the AEW&C, wrote and executed detailed test plans and provided the ADF with an accurate assessment of the capability offered by the AEW&C. This work was instrumental in the ADF being able to achieve a declaration of Initial Operating Capability for the AEW&C in December 2012.
The relationship that Nova Systems developed with the Air Force underpinned the two most important aspects of the successful AEW&C OT&E program. Firstly, it enabled the development of a unique schedule risk mitigation methodology that guaranteed the Air Force ongoing value for money without an upfront cost of that risk. Secondly, it enabled Nova Systems’ teams of Test and Evaluation specialists to provide an extremely detailed capability assessment achieved through very high levels of integration with the AEW&C mission crews.