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The Gulfstream G550 is a long range American executive business jet which was built between 2003 and 2021 with a production run of over 600 aircraft. The US military operated the G550 as the C-37B VIP transport aircraft and the type is also flown by a number of other air forces as their VIP aircraft. An Airborne Early Warning version of the G550 was developed by Israel as a supplement and partial replacement of its Phalcon AEW aircraft. The aircraft is fitted with an Israeli developed radar system that is fitted along the fuselage in addition to also being located in the nose and tail, Gulfstream call this system the Conformal Airborne Early Warning system. The Israeli Air Force call the type the Eitam.
Italy initially ordered a pair of G550 CAEWs from Israel in 2012 in partial return for an order for 30 M-346 trainers by the Israeli Air Force (who call the M-346 the Lavi). Both aircraft were delivered during January 2018. The Italian Air Force has now placed an order for an additional two G550 CAEWs in addition to a further six aircraft which will be configured for specialised signals intelligence work.
A single Italian Air Force G550 AEW will be appearing on static display at this year's Air Tattoo and will be provided by the 14° Stormo based at Pratica di Mare air base just south of Rome. The G550 AEW will be parked together with other Italian Air Force aircraft both old and new as part of our celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Italian Air Force. Photo Credit: Marco Papa