Singapore has declared its Gulfstream G550-based airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft to be fully operational.

"The G550 AEW, together with the RSAF's [Republic of Singapore Air Force's] fighter squadrons and ground-based air defence units, are a powerful network that represents a quantum jump in the SAF's ability to identify potential aerial threats early and respond decisively, in peace or in war," says Singapore minister for defence Ng Eng Hen.

 Singapore air force G550 - Cyberpioneer

© Cyberpioneer/Singapore Ministry of National Defence

Singapore fielded its first G550 AEW aircraft during 2009

The air force's 111 Sqn operates the type from Tengah air base. Singapore ordered four G550s, and fielded its first example in 2009. The fleet will replace the nation's four Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye surveillance aircraft, which were originally delivered in the 1980s.

The new aircraft has a similar configuration to the G550 conformal airborne early warning platform operated by the Israeli air force. Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary Elta Systems says this offers a mission endurance of 9h when operating at an altitude of 41,000ft (12,500m) and 185km (100nm) from its home base. The aircraft features dual S-band radar arrays at the front and rear, plus L-band sensors on the fuselage side, providing 360° coverage. Israel's configuration has six on-board operator stations.

The modified G550 also has pod-housed electronic support measures equipment, plus satellite communications and line-of-sight data links. Elta says the airframe modifications have "minimal impact" on the business jet's performance.

Source: Flight International