The Gulfstream G550 series of business jets has proven itself a popular and capable airframe in more ways than one with some 550 aircraft built to date (2018). In the middle of the last decade, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) teamed up with Elta Electronics Industries (EEI) to modify this same jet to serve the AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning & Control) role for the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The work involved outfitting the existing aircraft with the Elta EL/W-2085 "Eltam" dual-band sensor radar suite as well as installing its applicable control stations, sensors and systems to produce the IAI EL/W-2085. The dorsal fin saw a series of antenna and sensors fitted and a bulging pod was added to the top of the vertical tail fin. Perhaps the most noticeable change was the slab-sided structures to the fuselage which are used to house the radomes in conformal installations.
The EL/W-2085 series aircraft entered service with the IAF in April of 2012 and are used to provide combat warplanes with real-time information on the current battlescape. These aircraft succeeded the aging (and expensive) Boeing Model 707s equipped (with EL/M-2075 series radr) for the same AEW&C role. The aircraft also serves the Singapore Air Force. Upcoming operators of the EL/W-2085 system include Australia, Italy and the United States.
The G550 airframe more-or-less maintains the same form and function of the original Gulfstream product. It is powered by a pair of engines seated along the aft section of the fuselage. The wing mainplanes are swept back and low-mounted while the horizontal tailplanes are seated high. A typical tricycle undercarriage is used for ground-running.
Australia (planned); Israel; Italy (planned); Singapore; United States (planned)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
Specially-equipped platform providing over-battlefield Command and Control (C2) capability for allied aerial elements.
✓Special-Mission: Electronic Warfare (EW)
Equipped to actively deny adversaries the ElectroMagnetic (EM) spectrum and protect said spectrum for allied forces.
96.8 ft (29.50 m)
93.5 ft (28.50 m)
25.9 ft (7.90 m)
48,502 lb (22,000 kg)
91,492 lb (41,500 kg)
+42,990 lb (+19,500 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base IAI EL/W-2085 (G550) production variant)
2 x Rolls-Royce BR710 turbofan engines developing 15,383lb of thrust each.
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