SAVANNAH, Ga. --- Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. yesterday delivered its first Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) special-mission aircraft to the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD). In 2003, the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550 aircraft was chosen as the platform for IMOD’s Airborne Early Warning surveillance system because of the aircraft’s overall performance, safety, reliability and low operating cost.
“The G550’s exceptionally long range enables it to remain on station for extended periods – a critical requirement for military surveillance missions,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, programs, engineering and test, Gulfstream. “Also, compared to earlier surveillance aircraft, the G550 offers considerably greater operating efficiencies, yielding exceptional capabilities at much lower total cost.”
Following the aircraft’s delivery to IMOD in Tel Aviv, Israel , ELTA Systems will provide and install state-of-the-art electronic equipment. ELTA Systems Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).
The CAEW aircraft features the most extensive modifications on a Gulfstream aircraft to date and like the Gulfstream V (GV) Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) – the first of which Gulfstream delivered to IMOD last year – the modifications to the CAEW G550 platform were developed entirely by Gulfstream engineers. Using state-of-the-art design tools, including a full Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application (CATIA) electronic mockup and computational fluid dynamics to ensure high efficiency and low drag, the CAEW platform is equal in capability to aircrafts that weigh twice as much.
During development of the CAEW platform, Gulfstream originated significant increases in the baseline aircraft capability, all of which will be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration by the end of this year. To accommodate the weight of ELTA’s mission-essential equipment, Gulfstream increased the G550’s maximum zero fuel weight using a Mid-Wing Fuel Ejector that pumps fuel from the inboard side of the wing and redistributes it to the outboard fuel cells, resulting in reduced wing loads at the fuselage. This modification is available to current in-service GV, G500 and G550 business-jet operators who require additional payload capacity.
To power the extensive electronics, Gulfstream installed two additional generators – one to each of the two G550 Rolls-Royce BR710 engines. As a result, the CAEW now delivers three times the electrical power of a standard G550 business jet. To compliment the electrical power increase, Gulfstream developed a low-drag liquid cooling system that provides the optimum environment for the onboard electronic equipment. Additionally, a mission control room and a number of on-board mission operator stations were designed by Gulfstream.
“For all practical purposes, we’ve provided ELTA a ‘plug-and-play’ special mission platform,” Henne added.
BEDEK Aviation Group, also a division of IAI, is providing maintenance and integrated logistic support for both CAEW and SEMA aircraft.
Gulfstream aircraft are deployed in a number of special-mission roles including maritime surveillance; high-altitude research; weather system monitoring; medical evacuation; special electronic mission and airborne early-warning roles. More than 34 governments operate Gulfstream aircraft, including some 22 that use the jets for head of state transport.
The large cabin, ultra-long range G550 business jet was introduced in September 2002. It can reach speeds up to Mach .885, cruise as high as 51,000 feet, and has a range of 6,750 miles. It features the PlaneView flight deck and the award-winning Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System. The G550 features a cabin volume of 1,669 cubic feet, with an additional 226 cubic feet of baggage space available; a maximum cabin altitude of 6,000 feet; 100 percent fresh air in the cabin; and 14 large oval windows that allow for a generous amount of natural light.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, designs, develops, manufactures, markets, services and supports the world’s most technologically advanced business-jet aircraft. Gulfstream has produced more than 1,500 aircraft for customers around the world since 1958. The company employs more than 7,900 people at seven major locations. (ends)