From Business Aircraft to Early Warning Platform

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Italy will acquire new Gulfstream G550-based multi-mission aircraft in order to modify it for conformal airborne early warning and control/electronic attack (CAEW/EA) roles via a deal with the United States. 

The Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed the news in the country’s latest multi-year planning document for 2021–23.

The Italian Air Force’s C4ISTAR aircraft acquisition program is now budgeted for a total of EUR2.15 billion (USD2.5 billion) over two separate phases.

The first phase, which has been approved by ministerial decree in February 2021, will see the development of the G550-based C4ISTAR solution over a series of tranches from 2021 through to 2032 for an estimated program value of about EUR1.223 billion to include operational support and related infrastructure.

According to the document, “the program relates to a multimission system, based on the Gulfstream G550 aerial platform equipped with modern sensors for strategic information collection and electronic superiority, suitable for integration into a net-centric architecture of C4ISTAR for real-time sharing of information, able to operate both in an autonomous context [and as part] of a complex inter-force structure”.

The Italian Air Force already fields two G550 CAEW, which it acquired from IAI, Israel, according to

The G550 aircraft serves a wide range of missions,  from business and government to military special missions — including aeromedical evacuation, airborne early warning, ground surveillance, head-of-state transport, and maritime patrol.