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Gulfstream C-20

Government / Military VIP Passenger Transport

Two different Gulfstream business jets - the III and IV series - served as the basis for the military VIP transport-minded C-20.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 7/12/2018
The Gulfstream III and Gulfstream IV commercial corporate jets have served as the framework for the "C-20" family of U.S. military government-level VIP passenger transports. The Gulfstream III covers the C-20A, C-20B, C-20C and C-20D models while the Gulfstream IV is the C-20F (U.S. Army), C-20G (USMC), C-20H (USAF) and C-20J (U.S. Army). The Gulfstream III was introduced by Gulfstream Aerospace in 1980 and 202 were built while the Gulfstream IV achieved better commercial success, entering service in the mid-1980s and has seen production reach 870 units. Both variations are twin-engine jets of conventional form and function.

The original C-20A and C-20B production models were selected to succeed the outgoing line C-140B JetStar aircraft then in service with the USAF. The C-20A held provision for 14 passengers and carried a crew of five. The C-20B (2 x Rolls-Royce Spey 511-8 engines) arrived in 1992 with updated avionics and electronics while the C-20C introduced protected communications for its passengers. The C-20D was taken on by the United States Navy (USN) as an Operational Support Airlift (OSA) type and given appropriate mission equipment for the role of transporting high-ranking USN officials. The C-20E arrived as a "stretched fuselage" model and given slightly reworked wing mainplanes, serving the United States Army.

The SRA-1 became a specialized variant intended for reconnaissance and surveillance for the export market. Similarly, the SMA-3 became a radar-equipped version for maritime patrol, Search & Rescue and VIP transport for Denmark.

For the USAF, three C-20A examples were delivered to the 89th Airlift Wing and these were then shipped to Ramstein AFB in Germany. The C-20B arrived powered by 2 x Rolls-Royce Spey Mark 511-8 series engines.

The C-20H was another stretched fuselage version (powered by 2 x Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8 engines) and this arrived in 1992 as a more advanced model with modernized avionics, uprated engines and new electrical system offering improved range, performance and noise reduction.

The C-20A was given up in frontline service by the USAF in 2002. To fill the gap at Ramstein, a pair of C-20H models were shipped to Germany in their place.


Active, Limited Service
[ 20 Units ] :
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation - USA
National flag of Sweden National flag of United States Sweden; United States
- VIP Transport
79.92 ft (24.36 m)
68.83 ft (20.98 m)
24.51 ft (7.47 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Gulfstream C-20A production model)
Empty Weight:
36,905 lb (16,740 kg)
65,499 lb (29,710 kg)
(Diff: +28,594lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Gulfstream C-20A production model)
2 x Rolls-Royce Spey 511-8 turbofan engines developing 11,400lb of thrust each.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Gulfstream C-20A production model)
Maximum Speed:
582 mph (936 kph; 505 kts)
Service Ceiling:
45,000 feet (13,716 m; 8.52 miles)
Maximum Range:
4,275 miles (6,880 km; 3,715 nm)
4,350 ft/min (1,326 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Gulfstream C-20A production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Gulfstream C-20A production model)
Gulfstream II - Base Business Jet model on what the military C-20 is based on; Similar forward fuselage and cross section of the Gulfstream I business jet model; swept-wing; T-tail section assembly.
Gulfstream III - Improved Gulfstream II model; increased wingspan and minor aerodynamic improvements; increased fuel capacity; increased overall range.
Gulfstream IIB - Updated Gulfstream II's with Gulfstream III newer wing assembly.
C-20 - Military variant based on the Gulfstream III design; utilized by the USAF.

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