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.