The G550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft pioneered the current worldwide trend of using high-performance fuel-efficient business jets for Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and other special missions. 

ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries), unveiled the G550 CAEW to an enthusiastic public at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008. At that time, the G550 CAEW had already been delivered to the Israeli Air Force and another leading Air Force. The latest delivery was to the Italian Air Force, which included a fully NATO interoperable communications suite, IFF system and a newly designed AESA Radar based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) technologies.

The G550 CAEW offers outstanding performance accompanied with an exceptionally high level of readiness while retaining a very low Life Cycle Cost.  With over ten years of operational experience with customers around the world, the G550 CAEW offers more capabilities on a single platform compared with other AEW aircraft available in the market today.

Offering the Edge in Operational Capabilities

The G550 CAEW AESA Radar provides rapid target acquisition and information with a total of 360° coverage by using the latest GaN and signal processing technologies. Radar characteristics include high-accuracy three-dimensional tracking, low false-alarm rate, flexible and high target revisit time, electronic counter-countermeasures and programmable search and track modes of operation.  The G550 CAEW mission system is highly automated and uses advanced multi-sensor data fusion techniques to cross-correlate data generated by Radar, IFF, ESM, and network data, creating a clean and reliable Recognized Air Picture (RAP).

The Gulfstream G550 platform, powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710C4-11 turbofan engines, offers the highest level of reliability that can be achieved in the market today, coupled with low maintenance costs.  The G550 CAEW is always ready for missions with a turnaround time of under one hour. The G550 CAEW operates at 41,000 ft., well above commercial air traffic. All systems can be operational within 10 minutes from takeoff, well before reaching operational altitude within 20 minutes. The G550 CAEW can provide more on-station time than similar available AEW solutions. This means a smaller fleet of G550 CAEW is needed to perform the same tasks as a larger fleet of AWACS would require. The G550 CAEW can fly at a maximum speed of 0.82 Mach and can reach a range of more than 4,000 Nm. The G550 CAEW operates from short narrow airfields making it more flexible for mission planning and deployment.  

The Italian Air Force joins the expanding G550 CAEW user community  

In July 2012, a contract was signed between the Italian and Israeli Governments, to supply the Italian Air Force with two G550 CAEW Systems, including ground stations, mission planning & training facilities, and logistics support.

The Italian Air force received their first G550 CAEW during December 2016. It has subsequently flown on numerous NATO exercises, including alongside Italian F-35s, Eurofighters, Tornados, and M-346 trainer jets, where it successfully demonstrated advanced AEW and ISR capabilities.  

The second G550 CAEW was delivered during December 2017 and joined its counterpart at Pratica di Mare Air Base, south of Rome, where it immediately commenced operational duties.

The Italian G550 CAEW is equipped with a NATO-compatible communication suite developed jointly by IAI/ELTA and Leonardo. The G550 CAEW is interoperable with the Air Force, Navy and ground force assets and includes Secure V/UHF, HF, LVHF & satellite communications, VoIP Intercom, secure data links (L-16, VMF, JREAP), IFF Mode 4 & 5 Compatible Interrogators and Transponders and SAASM GPS. 

The G550 CAEW system has six multi-purpose operator stations with 24" displays. The high level of automation and advanced modern electronics allow the six operators to perform all required mission tasks. The Mission Suite presents a full aerial situation picture, combining the information from the various sensors and data links into a RAP. Additional remote operators can receive the RAP in real-time via a SATCOM link and actively participate in the mission.

G550 CAEW - the optimal solution for the UK AWACS Replacement

As the world faces both traditional and unconventional threats, countries must search out reliable and flexible AEW&C solutions. ELTA is well positioned to provide a mature, Off-The-Shelf, high-end, NATO compliant, operationally-proven AEW&C solution, to the United Kingdom.

A G550 CAEW fleet can be purchased at a highly competitive price and can be operated with very high reliability and availability at unprecedented low life-cycle costs. This is made possible by the low fuel cost and inherent advantages of the commercial business jet infrastructure, such as 24/7 worldwide aircraft support, quick maintenance and wide availability of spare parts.

ELTA understands well the challenges and apprehensions when choosing critical technology for protecting their national sovereignty from threats both small and large. The G550 CAEW system was designed to provide maximum command and control capabilities at the lowest overall cost, freeing budgets for additional weapon purchases.

As is common practice with in-country Industrial-Participation, ELTA plans to work with local integrators and suppliers to ensure a high-level of UK Content and leadership, and to ensure the success of the program and shorten the delivery schedule.

Since the G550 CAEW is Off-The-Shelf and already operating in NATO airspace, ELTA can assure a quick delivery and deployment of the system, thus making the G550 CAEW the optimal candidate for the UK AWACS Replacement program.