C-37B Gulfstream 550

C-37B Gulfstream 550

The Gulfstream G550 is a business jet aircraft produced by General Dynamics’ Gulfstream Aerospace unit in Savannah, Georgia, US. The certification designation is GV-SP. As of January 2016, there were 450 G550s in service. The final G550 commercially available unit is to be delivered in 2021. A version of the airplane with reduced fuel capacity was marketed as the G500. It is used by the US military under the designation C-37B.

Development

The G550 (GV-SP) with improved engines received its FAA type certificate on August 14, 2003. In 2014, Gulfstream looked at a re-engine with the Rolls-Royce Pearl BR700 development announced in May 2018 for the new Global Express 5500 and 6500 variants but preferred the BR725-powered, 7,500 nmi G650. The 500th Gulfstream G550 aircraft was delivered in May 2015.

As it is replaced by the $54.5 million Gulfstream G600 with a lower 6,200 nmi range but with a better cabin and cockpit, faster long range cruise and lower fuel burn, it could leave production in 2019. Deliveries went from 50 aircraft in 2011 to 19 in 2016 and with 40 units for sale in a fleet of 540, its valuation are falling: a 10-year-old G550 valued $28 million a year before is worth $18-$20 million in January 2017, while a two-year-old went from $40 to $35 million. In May 2017, early 2003 G550s are valued $14 million against more than $45 million new, flying an average of 425 h per year. In December 2018, a 2012-2013 G550 is valued $28-31 million, and it costs $7,135 per hour for 400 hours a year.

As it was replaced by the Gulfstream G600 by October 2019, the G550 was kept in limited production for long-term special missions applications and government orders.

Design

Compared to the Gulfstream V, drag reduction details boost range by 250 nmi (460 km) and increase fuel efficiency. Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is increased by 500 lb (230 kg) and takeoff performance is enhanced. A seventh pair of windows is added and the entry door is moved 2 ft (0.61 m) forward to increase usable cabin length. The PlaneView flight deck features cursor control devices, Honeywell Primus Epic avionics, standard head-up guidance system by Rockwell Collins and enhanced vision system by Elbit, improving situational awareness in reduced visibility conditions.

Initial long-range cruise altitude is FL 400-410, first hour fuel burn is 4,500–5,000 lb (2,000–2,300 kg) decreasing for the second hour to 3,000 and 2,400 lb (1,400 and 1,100 kg) for the last hour. Flight hourly budget is $700-950 for engine reserves, $250 for parts and 2.5 maintenance hours. It competes against the Bombardier Global 6000, which has higher direct operating costs and less range but a more spacious cross section, and the Dassault Falcon 7X with fly-by-wire flight controls, better fuel efficiency and a wider but shorter cabin.

Variants

  • GV-SP: The same as the Gulfstream V or GV with a new flightdeck display system, airframe aerodynamic and engine improvements, main entry door moved forward, also marketed as the G-550.
  • G500: The Gulfstream G500 has a reduced fuel capacity. Introduced in 2004 as a shorter 5,800 nautical miles (10,700 km) range version, it has the same exterior appearance, as well as the PlaneView cockpit, but Visual Guidance System (HUD) and Enhanced Vision System (EVS) are options.
  • G550: Marketing name for the GV-SP.
  • C-37B: U.S. military designation for the G550 in a VIP passenger configuration.
  • EC-37B: U.S. military designation for proposed G550 version in an Electronic Warfare configuration to replace USAF’s existing EC-130H Compass Call aircraft.
  • NC-37B: U.S. military designation for proposed G550 with the “Conformal AEW” body shape for use as range telemetry aircraft for U.S. Navy.
  • MC-55A Peregrine: Royal Australian Air Force designation for SIGINT and ELINT intelligence gathering variant.
  • G550 CAEW: Israel has acquired a number of G550s, fitted with the IAI EL/W-2085 sensor package (a newer derivative of the Phalcon system) for Airborne Early Warning (AEW) use and named the aircraft Eitam. This aircraft is heavily modified for the AEW role by Gulfstream’s partner, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and is also called CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) by Gulfstream Special Missions Department. Israel has also acquired a number of G550s dubbed SEMA (Special Electronic Missions Aircraft) with systems integration also carried out by IAI. Italy has acquired 2 G550 CAEW as part of a counter-deal to Israel’s $1 billion order for 30 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainers. Singapore ordered four similar G550 CAEW aircraft equipped with the EL/W-2085 sensor package from Gulfstream and IAI.
  • E-550A: Italian military designation for the G550 CAEW.
  • Air-to-air refueling variant: Israel Aerospace Industries has studied adapting the G550 for air-to-air refueling use.

Specifications

Crew 2 pilots, 0–2 attendants
Capacity 14–19 passengers / 6,200 lb (2,812 kg) payload
Length 96 ft 5 in (29.39 m)
Wingspan 93 ft 6 in (28.50 m)
Heigh 25 ft 10 in (7.87 m)
Wing area 1,137 sq ft (105.6 m2)
Empty weight 48,300 lb (21,909 kg)
Gross weight 54,500 lb (24,721 kg)
Max take off weight 91,000 lb (41,277 kg)
Power plant (Dry thrust) 2 × Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 turbofan engines, 15,385 lbf (68.44 kN) thrust each
Power plant (Thrust with afterburner)   
Maximum speed (Sea level)  
Maximum speed (High altitude) M0.885 at 41,000 ft (12,497 m)
Combat radius  
Ferry range 6,750 nmi (7,770 mi, 12,500 km)
Service ceiling 51,000 ft (16,000 m)
Rate of climb  
Wing loading  
Thrust/weight  
Design load factor  

Operators

  • Australian Air Force – 2 MC-55A Peregrine, in late 2015 the RAAF ordered two Gulfstream G550 aircraft to be delivered by 30 November 2017.
  • Israeli Air Force – 2 G550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) and Three Shavit SEMA (Special Electronic Missions Aircraft) aircraft.
  • Italian Air Force – 2 G550 CAEWs as part of a counter-deal to Israel’s $1 billion order for 30 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainers. Both aircraft delivered and in service as of January 2018.. 4 CAEW and 2 SINGINT in order.
  • Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) – four G550s with the IAI/ELTA EL/W-2085 active electronically scanned array (AESA) active phased array radar for CAEW duties from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These were delivered in late 2008 and were expected to be fully operational by late 2010. An additional G550 for use as an AEW trainer was to be acquired and maintained by ST Aerospace for the RSAF
  • Swedish Air Force – one G550, designated TP 102D It along with a G-IV designated TP 102A, and a G-IV SP, designated TP 102C, serve as transports for the Royal Family and the Prime Minister.
  • Turkish Armed Forces – 2 G550 Command and Control aircraft in use.
  • Saudi Arabia – Operates two GVs in a medevac configuration.
  • United States

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