Raytheon to Modify Navy Gulfstream Jet with Advanced Telemetry System by 2021
By Richard R. Burgess, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Raytheon Co. will be delivering a new range-support aircraft to the Navy in 2021, a company official said Nov. 28. The Gulfstream 550 business jet will be modified by Raytheon with an advanced telemetry system that will provide collection of telemetry data from weapons tests, especially missiles, aircraft, ships and unmanned aerial vehicles, but also will provide range safety and surveillance as well as communications relay for test platforms.
Raytheon was awarded a $79 million contract last week from Naval Air Systems Command to provide the mission system for the G550. The advanced telemetry system will be built using existing Raytheon radar and other technology. The G550 will replace Navy NP-3C (formerly NP-3D) Orion aircraft fitted with a large “billboard” antenna array. The Navy is retiring its P-3 aircraft and needs to replace the P-3C by 2021. The range support aircraft are assigned to Air Test & Evaluation Squadron 30 (VX-30) at Naval Air Station Pint Mugu, Calif.
The main challenge of the program is the tight schedule of the program, said Susan Kelly, site manager of Raytheon in Albuquerque, N.M., with the system being developed under a fixed-price contract.
“They [the Navy] needed it yesterday,” Kelly said.
The G550 will be delivered to Raytheon as government-furnished equipment, Kelly said. The G550 will be delivered to Raytheon in the Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) airframe configuration, which includes conformal antenna arrays. The CAEW aircraft is already certified by the FAA and as such will not have to be re-certified with the Raytheon suite installed.
The mission suite will be installed in the G550 in at Raytheon’s hangar in Tucson, Ariz., Kelly said. The company will perform integration, flight-testing and training before delivering the aircraft to VX-30.
Kelly said there is interest from foreign nations in the telemetry suite, and said the Navy could use more than just the one it has ordered so far.
“We just have to wait and see how it turns out,” she said. “We hope to build more than one.”