The special missions market is much more than just a secondary business for Gulfstream Aerospace according to Buddy Sams. Gulfstream's senior vice president, Government Sales and Marketing, Sams, speaking on the first day of the show highlighted Gulfstream's unique role as the only executive aircraft builder with a full-time team of programme managers dedicated to special mission operations.
Gulfstream's involvement in special missions can be traced back to its roots, when it introduced the world's first aircraft built exclusively for corporate use in 1958, and sparked an almost immediate interest beyond its civilian duties. The U.S. Navy evaluated it to be an extraordinarily capable aircraft and selected it as a tactical weapons system trainer. The rugged and effective TC-4C served the Navy and Marine Corps for decades, establishing its reputation as an extremely reliable and durable aircraft capable of performing even under the most demanding conditions.
That performance established a world-renowned reputation that became the precursor for more than 158 Gulfstream government and special mission aircraft - a reputation that has spanned more than four decades.
Today, 34 governments use Gulfstream aircraft and 25 countries, including the United States, use Gulfstream aircraft to transport their heads-of-state. In addition to its traditional role of executive transportation, Gulfstream aircraft have also been reconfigured and equipped to serve in missions as diverse as signals intelligence, airborne early warning, tactical/optical reconnaissance, maritime surveillance and rescue, coastal watch and fisheries patrol , medical evacuation, high altitude atmospheric research, NASA shuttle pilot training, airways navigation aid verification, hurricane research and tracking, radar/weapons system/navigation training.
Sams highlighted the role of a GIV used for hurricane research and tracking on the east coast of the USA as a classic example of the cost-effective deployment of Gulfstream aircraft in the special mission sector.
"According to the US national weather service authority every mile of coastline you do not have to evacuate in the wake of a hurricane saves a million dollars, so this aircraft has more than paid for itself on this strategic deployment," says Sams.
Gulfstream Aerospace has three aircraft on display at the show - a large cabin mid-range G200, large cabin ultra-long-range G550 and a G550 which features the latest version of the PlaneView flight deck developed for the aircraft.
Source: Flight Daily News