Military


C-37A Gulfstream V

As part of the 2010 Defense appropriations bill, the United States Air Force had requested the inclusion of one C-37A aircraft, valued at $65 million, as part of upgrading its VIP passenger transport capabilities. The House Appropriations Committee added another $132 million dollars to the bill in July 2009 for a total of 3 C-37A aircraft.

The C-37A is a military version of the Gulfstream V business jet. The Gulfstream V can fly non-stop 6,500 nautical miles. On long flights, it can carry eight passengers and a crew of four at Mach 0.80 while cruising at 51,000 feet. Two 14,750-pound-thrust BMW-Rolls-Royce BR71048 engines provide the power. Northrop Grumman, Fokker Aerostructures and Shinmaywa are partners in the development of the Gulfstream Aerospace aircraft, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics. Northrop Grumman's Commercial Aircraft Division and Shinmaywa are designing the wing, while Fokker is responsible for the aircraft's empennage. Company officials call the Gulfstream V "the world's first ultra long-range business jet."

The C-37A resembles the C-20H (Gulfstream IV), but is eight feet longer, with a wider wing span, a more advanced avionics package and greater performance capabilities, allowing the aircraft to carry up to 12 passengers a distance 50 percent greater than the C-20B models. This is because of the larger engines and the capability to fly at higher altitudes, taking advantage of better fuel consumption rates. A typical C-37A mission will able to fly 5,500 nautical miles without refueling, carrying Cabinet secretaries, congressional delegations or senior military leaders.

The 89th Airlift Wing is the only unit in the Air Force to operate C-37 and C-32 aircraft. With this aircraft, they are capable of taking senior leadership nonstop to areas of the world that previously required flying much larger aircraft. The key to C-37A's performance is its state-of-the-art wing design, improved aerodynamics and more powerful engines. The airframe is capable of low-speed, high-lift performance, high-altitude maneuverability and turbulence tolerance. The BMW/Rolls-Royce BR710-48 engines moves the C-37A at a cruising speed of 600 mph. Civilian versions of the aircraft have in a very short time set 15 world speed and distance records, including the first nonstop flight from New York to Tokyo. The Gulfstream V is the first aircraft of its kind, capable of cruising at altitudes up to 51,000 feet, high above most other air traffic, weather and adverse winds.

Despite its more powerful engines, the C-37A is very fuel-efficient. Passengers can comfortably travel in the aircraft at altitudes as high as 51,000 feet, taking advantage of better fuel consumption rates, explained Bigler.

C-37As come equipped with a number of features not found on any other business jets. The avionics system is a state-of-the-art Honeywell SPZ-8500 Flight Management System with an integrated full-function Heads-Up Display. The FMS allows crews to program computers to have the aircraft arrive at point in space at a specific time. They also come equipped with enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, and Microwave Landing System. Other important features include Tacan military navigation equipment and a military Identification Friend/Foe transponder. Full Authority Digital Engine Controls ensure critical engine operating parameters are maintained. The C-37A, like other Gulfstream Vs, meets the Extended Range with Two-Engine Airplanes standards, a criterion previously only met by larger commercial aircraft operating over long stretches of water.

Passengers will enjoy flying on what Gulfstream claims is the quietest aircraft in production. The twin engines are located aft of the cabin bulkheads; titanium mufflers and vibration isolators will eliminate hydraulic system noise. Insulated side panels, and re-engineered windows further eliminate outside noise. The interior package includes a passenger flight information display system that can feature real-time global positioning on a moving world map, weather updates and other important information.

The CINC Support Aircraft Replacement Program calls for a most probable quantity of five FAA certified commercial intercontinental passenger Aircraft accommodating a minimum of 12 passengers and 5 Crew in a working office environment and capable of dispatch on short notice to any suitable airfield in the world from operating locations at MacDill AFB, FL and Hickam AFB, HI. This aircraft shall have a 5000 NM range, a separate Distinguished Visitor (DV) area, and worldwide clear and secure voice, facsimile, and PC data passenger communications.

First deliveries of the the ultra-long-range Gulfstream V to commercial customers began at the end of 1996. On 05 May 1997 -- Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation announced that the Gulfstream V, the world's first ultra-long range business jet, had been selected by the United States Air Force (USAF) for the VC-X program to expand the mission capability of the nation's Special Air Mission Wing. The selection by the USAF marked the first sale of the ultra-long range Gulfstream V to the military and opened this market worldwide for similar applications of this new aircraft. The initial contract is for two Gulfstream V aircraft with options for up to four additional units before 2003. The initial contract is valued at $68.9million. Including options, the total contract is valued at more than $275 million. Gulfstream will provide technical and logistics support, spare parts and overhaul services to the USAF for 10 years.

The C-37A will, along with the 1st Airlift Squadron's new C-32As, replace the wing's aging fleet of C-137s. The first C-37A, Tail No. 70400, arrived at Andrews AFB in July 1998, and a second model arrived in September. They joined the squadron's fleet of five C-20Bs, two C-20Hs and three C-9Cs. On 06 January 1999 Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. was awarded a $38,530,875 face value increase to a firm-fixed-price contract to provide for one C-37A aircraft and associated training and data with an expected contract completion date of 30 June 30 2000.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation will deliver a C-37A (a Gulfstream V) to the U.S. Coast Guard in the second quarter of 2002; the order was received in Dec. 2000. The aircraft will be used for domestic and international transportation and command and control operations. The Coast Guard flies a C-20B, a Gulfstream III, which will be replaced by the new Gulfstream V.

On March 13, 2002 Gulfstream was awarded a 10-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract for the purchase of up to 20 Gulfstream V and Gulfstream V-SP business jet aircraft and associated contractor logistics support. The first purchase under the program, for a single GV aircraft designated the C-37A by the U.S. Air Force, is valued at $43.4 million. Purchase of 20 aircraft and associated contractor logistic support under the terms of the contract has a potential value of up to $1.6 billion.

EC-37

Company officials are marketing the new Gulfstream V-SP as a special mission platform. Several prospective ISR requirements include a platform that could augment the US Air Force's prospective "widebody" ISR fleet [the Multi-sensor Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A)], and the US Army's Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) program. Each of these aircraft could perform these missions for an operational cost of $1,772 per hour.

Either a IV-SP or a V-SP is expected to compete for the ACS program. Depictions distributed by Gulfstream included a V-SP configured as an ACS, equipped with an integrated suite of SIGINT, SAR/GMTI, EO/IR, and MASINT sensors, touted as being capable of precision targeting operations.

The V-SP outfitted for airborne electronic attack missions would be the EC-37 Standoff AEA platform. This aircraft could be equipped with ALQ-99 and various other electronic warfare pods, and would be capable of delivering high-performance digital SIGINT capability for look-through operations.

Picking up the slack for an MC2A, the V-SP can be equipped with an active electronic scanned array that is available and compatible with the business jet. Although the US Air Force plans to field a wide-body MC2A fleet in order to ease the strain of commitments that are now being levied on individual Joint STARS, AWACS, and Rivet Joint crews, those multi-mission aircraft are sure to be in greater demand than the single-purpose aircraft they will replace. As a result, the Service is likely to find itself with good uses for new, specialized single-purpose platforms to augment the Joint STARS, AWACS, and Rivet Joint aircraft that will remain in service for some time. Small yet capable aircraft, with their lower maintenance and operating costs, are likely to find increasing favor among Air Force leaders.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list