The Australian Department of Defence has acquired four modified Gulfstream G550 aircraft from the US for use by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in a A$2.46bn ($1.74bn) transaction.
To be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, the new aircraft will be designated the MC-55A ‘Peregrine’.
According to Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, the procurement of the G550 aircraft will help strengthen electronic warfare support to naval, air and land forces for operations in complex electromagnetic environments.
Pyne said: “The Peregrine is a new airborne electronic warfare capability that will be integrated into defence’s joint warfighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms, including the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, E-7A Wedgetail, EA-18G Growler, navy’s surface combatants and amphibious assault ships and ground assets to support the warfighter.
“The aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, yet another piece in a broader intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance precinct being developed at the super base, which is already home to our Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.”
RAAF Base Edinburgh is also set to serve as the headquarters for the country’s unmanned Tritons and armed unmanned Reaper variant.
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Pyne added: “This capability and the people who operate it will bring airforce a step closer to becoming a fully networked fifth-generation force and further exploit the joint combat multiplier effects on exercises and operations.”
Australia Defence Industry Minister stated that the project will create opportunities worth more than A$2bn ($1.41bn) for the domestic industry in the sustainment of the aircraft over its lifespan.
In June 2017, the US State Department approved Australia’s request for Gulfstream G550 aircraft with airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare (AISREW) mission systems.
The sale will enable Australia to upgrade its electronic warfare capability and increase interoperability between the US Air Force and the RAAF.