Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has designed a surveillance version of the Gulfstream G280 super-midsize business jet and is seeking a launch customer. “After three years in the market, the G280 is mature enough for special missions,” said Avishai Izhakian, deputy general manager of the Airborne Systems Division of Elta, IAI’s radar house. He unveiled the new version at the Airborne ISR conference in London, organized by Defence IQ.
The G280 AGS (air-ground surveillance system) includes an advanced Elta synthetic aperture and ground moving target indicator radar (SAR/GMTI), and an integrated ELINT/COMINT system. There are four operator positions in the cabin, with four systems racks in the rear cabin. Datalinks are line-of-sight and broadband satcom, the latter providing about a 10 Mbps connection. Like other offerings from the Israeli company, the G280 AGS features an open architecture and net-centric interoperability.
The G280 is the smallest manned platform that IAI-Elta offers for surveillance missions, although it also studying a Challenger 605 conversion. The appeal of the G280 is based on cost to acquire and to operate and maintain. According to Izhakian, the latter cost is “seven to ten times” lower than the largest current platform, the U.S. E-8 Jstars. The G280 AGS will have a six-hour endurance and can operate above 40,000 feet. IAI-Elta also offers the longer-endurance MARS2 (multi-mission airborne surveillance and reconnaissance system), based on the larger Gulfstream 550 business jet. The company has also flown and delivered two special-mission conversions of the Bombardier Global 5000 business jet, carrying SAR/GMTI radar and a LOROP sensor. IAI-Elta declines to identify the customer, which AIN has identified as the Indian air force. IAI has also recently launched a maritime surveillance version of the same type.
The G280 is a joint project between Gulfstream Aerospace and IAI. It first flew in December 2009 and was certified in both Israel and the U.S. in September 2013. More than 50 have now been delivered.