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Italy confirms order for additional 8 early warning aircraft from Israel

Gulfstream G550 AEW&C
Photo: Italian Air Force

The Italian Air Force is set to receive up to eight additional Gulfstream G550 airborne early warning aircraft from Israel’s IAI, the country’s defense minister has confirmed.

The additional aircraft will complement the two delivered in 2016 and 2017. The two planes were part of a reciprocal deal from 2012 which saw Israel purchase 30 M-346 trainer aircraft from Italy’s Leonardo.

The additional order was confirmed by Italian defense minister Lorenzo Guerini in a recent parliamentary hearing. The 8-plane order will include four conformal airborne early warning (CAEW) and four joint airborne multisensor multimission system (JAMMS) variants.

According to local reports, Italy could also set up a local maintenance center for the aircraft, which could also serve as a maintenance hub for other Gulfstream aircraft.

According to IAI, the CAEW aircraft use radars installed on their sides to provide aerial and maritime situational awareness with 360-degree surveillance of airborne targets at all altitudes. Installed systems include an advanced AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) four-dimensional radar with 360-degree detection, identification and tracking of airborne and surface targets. The aircraft also feature an Electronic Surveillance Measures system (ESM) that detects emitters at a wide range of frequencies and a NATO-compatible communications system, produced jointly by ELTA and Italy’s Leonardo.