On 28 August 2003 Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), was awarded a contract with a potential value of up to $473 million. Gulfstream will supply and provide support for four Gulfstream G550 business jet aircraft, with an option for two additional G550 aircraft, to the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The aircraft will be used as Compact Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) platforms. The program will take full advantage of the Gulfstream G550's exceptional capabilities, endurance, reliability and low operating cost. The contract includes a firm, fixed-price 10-year contractor logistics support (CLS) program valued at up to $18 million, with the follow-on 10-year option valued at up to $26 million. Following initial phase and partial final phase production, which includes interior and exterior modifications to the platform at Gulfstream's Savannah facility, the mission equipment installation and system integration will be done in Israel.
Another opportunity for the G550 is the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) project. This would use the luxury jet, converted into an unmanned unpiloted mode, with a range of 6750 miles it can carry a payload of 20,000 lbs. Designated the RQ-37, the UAV would have 3 to 4 times the payload of the Global Hawk, over 15 hours endurance and the redundancy of twin engines. The drawbacks of the RQ-37 proposal are considerably less endurance and cost. Whilethe Global Hawk costs around $24-25 million, the basic, unequipped G550 sells for around $35 million.
Introduced in 2002, the Gulfstream G550 is fully equipped and includes the comprehensive and industry-exclusive Gulfstream 5-year Maintenance and Training Package, the PlaneViewT cockpit, Head-Up display and the Gulfstream Enhanced Vision (EVS) System. With the longest range in its class, the G550 can fly 18 passengers up to 6,750 nautical miles nonstop at a cruising speed of .885 Mach and at an altitude of up to 51,000 feet. Owners of the G550 can choose from multiple cabin layouts and several customer-preferred option packages. Customers can also choose to customize the interior to best meet their individual needs.
The G550 program began in 1999 as an advanced cockpit project and evolved into a total aircraft upgrade. In 2001, Gulfstream's development team created a GV-SP, or "GV-Special Performance," prototype by modifying an existing Gulfstream V® aircraft. On Aug. 31, 2001, the GV-SP test aircraft, called "T1," completed its first flight, with pilots and engineers onboard testing its basic systems and its new flight deck system called PlaneViewT.
Three months later, in November 2001, the production team began the process of transitioning the GV production line to a GV-SP production line and, in June 2002, the first production GV-SP was unveiled. One month later in July, the first production GV-SP flew for 5 hours, 1 minute on its maiden flight - the longest first flight of a new type aircraft in Gulfstream history.
At the National Business Aviation Association's Annual Meeting and Convention held in September 2002, Gulfstream unveiled a new, seven aircraft product line that included the renaming of the GV-SP to the Gulfstream G550. In December 2002, the FAA granted the G550 its Provisional Type Certificate, marking the first certification of PlaneView flight deck components.
Powered by two advanced Rolls-Royce BR710 engines, each producing more than 15,000 pounds of thrust, the G550 can fly eight passengers and four crewmembers 6,750 nautical miles - the longest range available in a business jet. This range is a 250-nautical-mile increase over the GV and was accomplished with advanced aerodynamic improvements. The G550 will fly non-stop from New York to Tokyo in 14 1/2 hours at altitudes up to 51,000 feet, high above commercial air traffic, weather and adverse winds and permitting even more direct air traffic routing.
The G550 also will feature the most advanced flight deck in corporate aviation. The PlaneViewT cockpit is an integrated avionics suite that features four large liquid crystal displays that significantly improve the readability of terrain maps, navigational and weather information, and primary flight data.
The large-cabin, ultra-long-range G550's standard equipment includes the Gulfstream Enhanced Vision SystemT and the Gulfstream Signature Control Devices. The Gulfstream EVS, which is the first system of its kind to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, significantly improves pilot situational awareness during conditions of reduced visibility, both in flight and on the ground. The comprehensive industry-exclusive Gulfstream 5-year Service and Training Package and the competitive warranty program are just two of the many standard features offered with the G550.
Owners of the fully equipped Gulfstream G550 will enjoy choosing from multiple cabin layouts and several other well-planned and designed option packages. The standard equipment and option packages combined with the proven reliability, safety, comfort and performance offer an exceptional combination of features that serve to enhance the customer's ability to tailor the aircraft to meet their individual mission needs. Customization packages are also available on the G550.
Depending on the configuration, the G550 can accommodate 14 to 18 passengers.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|