USAF contracts L-3 for Australian government G550 aircraft procurement

6 January 2016 (Last Updated January 6th, 2016 18:30)

The US Department of Defence (DoD) has selected L-3 Communications Mission Integration as the prime contractor for a $94m foreign military sale of Gulfstream G550 aircraft for the Australian government.

The US Department of Defence (DoD) has selected L-3 Communications Mission Integration as the prime contractor for a $94m foreign military sale of Gulfstream G550 aircraft for the Australian government.

Under the firm fixed price undefined contract, L-3 will be involved in the procurement of an undisclosed number of G550 aircraft to Australia.

Work under the contract will be carried out at Greenville, Texas, US, and is expected to be completed by 30 November 2017.

The 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is serving as the contracting activity.

"The aircraft will be modified to provide an airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare capability to support ADF operations."

ABC reported the US 'foreign military sales arrangement' with Australia will involve the conversion of two G550 jets into high-tech surveillance aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force.

The Australian Department of Defence was quoted by the news agency saying: "The aircraft will be modified to provide an airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare capability to support ADF operations."

Six G550s are currently in service as military aircraft, according to Flightglobal's Fleets Analyser database. This includes the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) four Gulfstream 550 airborne early warning (G550-AEW) aircraft and two in the Israeli Air Force (IAF).

The G550-AEW aircraft provides a detection range of more than 200 nautical miles, enabling RSAF to respond more effectively to aerial threats in various operational situations.

Modified to carry the Elta conformal AEW platform, G550 upgrades include pod-housed electronic support measures equipment, satellite communications and line-of-sight datalinks.

The aircraft features dual S-band radar arrays at the front and rear, as well as L-band sensors on the fuselage side, providing 360° coverage and offering a mission endurance of nine hours at an altitude of 41,000ft.