G550 CAEW aircraft

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has received a contract for the production and delivery of G-550 conformal airborne early warning and control (CAEW) systems to the Italian Air Force.

The $750m contract, awarded as part of a counter-deal to Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) purchase of 30 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainers, involves the supply of two G-550 CAEW, along with ground support systems and a logistical support package to the air force.

IAI president and CEO Joseph Weiss said the deal represents a significant collaboration with the European industry, beyond the financial and occupational aspects.

Derived from Gulfstream Aerospace’s G550 business jet aircraft, the CAEW is a combat proven, third generation aircraft expected to provide Italy with a new fixed-wing AEW capability.

Powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710C4-11 turbofan engines, the aircraft features an Elta EL/W-2085 phased array airborne early warning radar, an identification friend or foe system, electronic support measures (ESM), electronic intelligence (ELINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) systems.

The aircraft is also equipped with an integrated self protection suite, a 360° radar warning receiver (RWR), missile approach warning system (MAWS), chaff and flare decoy dispensers and directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system.

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Developed by IAI Elta Systems since the middle of 1980s, the CAEW aircraft is capable of cruising at a maximum speed of 1,084km/h, with a maximum endurance of nine hours.

Apart from Italy, four CAEW aircraft have each been delivered to the IAF and the Republic of Singapore Air Force by IAI.

The Italian Air Force currently operates Boeing-built E-3A AWACS aircraft for reconnaissance missions, as reported by Flight Global.

Under a separate $182m contract, IAI will also manufacture and deliver a reconnaissance satellite to the Italian company, Telespazio.

Image: A G550 CAEW aircraft during its flight Photo: Copyright © 2002. Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.