Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Gulfstream are considering offering a multirole version of the G550 business jet equipped with an underbelly gondola-type fuel tank. The removable tank will allow the use of the aircraft for passengers, special missions or aerial refuelling.

A senior IAI source says the idea is to offer the flexible configuration to countries that can not afford to operate a dedicated fleet of tankers. According to IAI the G550 will be capable of carrying 25,000kg (55,000lb) of fuel.

 IAI and Gulfstream are considering a multirole version of the G550 busienss jet

IAI and Gulfstream are evaluating the market potential and the results will be the basis for a decision on whether go-ahead with the programme. If needed, full-sized tankers will be capable of aerial-refuelling the G550 to extend its mission.

IAI has identified a growing demand for tankers and the G550 is just one option.

The Israeli company is working on the design of a Boeing 767 tanker. This will also be a multi-mission design. The Israeli air force is interested in the 767 tanker. Currently the air force is using Lockheed C-130 and Boeing 707 tankers.

The air force has asked IAI to develop a system that will enable the aerial refuelling of unmanned air vehicles. Boeing, meanwhile, has teamed with Gulfstream to offer an unmanned version of the G550 for the US Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance programme.

Source: Flight International