US approves sale of modified G550 for RAAF

The US Department of State has approved the possible sale to Australia of up to five Gulfstream G550 aircraft modified with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare mission systems.

L3 Technologies in Greenville, Texas (home of L3 Mission Integration) would be the prime contractor for the deal, which has an estimated cost of US$1.3 billion.

According to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) statement, the Australian government requested the potential sale of the G550 aircraft modified to integrate the mission systems and GPS capability, secure communications and aircraft defensive systems; spares, including whole-life costs of airborne and ground segments; aircraft modification and integration; ground systems for data processing and crew training; ground support equipment; publications and technical data; US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; flight test and certification; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

“The proposed sale supports and complements the ongoing efforts of Australia to modernise its electronic warfare capability, and increases interoperability between the US Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force,” the DSCA stated.

The Integrated Investment Program stated that Defence would acquire long-range electronic warfare support aircraft based on the G550 airframe with additional and modified systems from the early 2020s. The aircraft will be acquired in two tranches and incrementally upgraded to maintain commonality with US-developed systems.


  1. Hayden.R says

    just about to ask whether or not these where ordered under a p-8a story!
    i’d like to see their paint scheme, f-111 blue-grey?

  2. says

    It was always going to happen.The RAAF now is an amazing intergrated force,and approaching fast as a 5th gen fighting force.Something to be very proud of.

  3. BANKS says

    Would this be a completely new capability or replace some existing assets like the P-3’s?

  4. Carlos M says

    It’s good to buy the G550 because it’s like a P8 posiden that can takeoff and landing on shorter runways

  5. John N says

    As has been reported over the years, a couple of the AP-3C’s have been equipped with an SIGINT/ELINT capability, and it also appears that the ‘standard’ P-8A’s entering RAAF service won’t have that capability.

    Whilst there is very little (next to none) information in the public domain regarding the ‘exact’ configuration and role of the G550’s, it is a pretty reasonable bet they will take over that role from those couple of AP-3C’s. What, if any, additional capabilities they will possess, is anyone’s guess.

    By the mid 2020’s the RAAF will have some pretty impressive capabilities in the Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Electronic Warfare (AISREW) environment, E-7A, EA-18G, P-8A, MQ-4C and the G550’s too.


    John N

  6. Mick181 says

    I think it’s a bit of both. Exactly what these Aircraft can do is not and will not be available for public information other then they are ISR Platforms.
    I think they will be heavily modified with protrusions on the outside so their performance levels will be different to a stock standard G-550. How close they will look to the Aircraft in the picture I’m not sure as it’s not a MOTS buy, only the mission eqpt is.

  7. Raymond says

    Chris, further to Gary’s comment, the protection and defence of a nation’s sovereignty is that government’s most important responsibility and first priority.

    EW has been identified as a critical capability that is rapidly increasing in importance as well as a great force multiplier.

    Well done RAAF once again – the best small air force in the world.

  8. Raymond says

    Paul, I presume your comment includes the amazing F-35. It has to; it is a critical component of your statement.

  9. Scott says

    ‘No budget emergency here’
    Well yes there is, however it doesn’t mean you make the country un-protected, it’s all about passive assertion, not agression.
    I’d suggest this gov is spending the money in the right areas as apposed to $750 cheques to people living in Greece , Fiji , NZ and so on.
    Big tick for this gov.

  10. says

    Yes Raymond we know this.I would think the gulf streams,will be a vital part in the chain with other SIGINT/ELINT from the US.With China building new fortresses in the South China Sea,NTH KOREA,and their nuclear program,and Iran with theirs.I could be wrong ,but it might be able to detect nuke stuff I think and work in tandem with our joint facilities here as well.Just another capability to add to our impressive arsenal.

  11. says

    And yes Raymond the F-35 as well.Raymond,I have said so many times I am not a hater of the 35!There are always 2 sides to a story.Im in the middle here,because there have been so many problems with it.I understand that it has to go through a lot of testing still and they have spent so much money on it.I read the pros and cons and then read in between the lines.I for one hopes it will smash everything out of the ball park.I am just cautious and please respect that.I am 90% convinced it will be great but nothing is 100% proven until its complete.Im sure you would agree on this.I will be on base at Nellis for Red Flag in August and look forward to see it in action.

  12. Derrick says

    Along with the approval of the 5 modified G550, India managed to get the last white tail C-17.

  13. Samual says

    The RAAF has done pretty well.

    It looks like it will replace its fleet of 19 P3C with 15 P-8A, 7 MQ4C and now 5 G550.

    This represents a huge boost in capability.

  14. says

    Now I wonder,…what will be the Squadron Number Plate?

    I’d like to see No 20 or 99 Squadron for a change for a Historical Re-link for GR or RCM , but No 9 or 12 Squadron would suffice I guess. The later would make interesting tail markings!