The original G550 aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of more than 41 tonnes and is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 turbofans each producing 15,385lb/68,44kN of thrust. The CAE-specific performance numbers are unknown.
E-550A MM62303/14-12 on final approach to Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the Netherlands during the 2018 Air Centric Personnel Recovery Operatives' Course.
Given the G550's approximate 8-foot external fuselage diameter, the addition of the side cheeks extends the aircraft's overall width by an estimated 16 inches.
Sensors, antenna, radomes and cheeks; the E-550's configuration makes the jet very recognisable. Cheeks fitted to the fuselage sides house fixed active electronically scanned phased array L-band radar/IFF antennas.
The E-550 is a highly modified Gulfstream 550 business jet. This example, E-550A MM62303/14-12 seen at Amendola Air Base, Italy, has Gulfstream-branded engine covers despite the modification being undertaken by Israel Aerospace Industries and Elta.
So heavily modified is the E-550, it's difficult to recognise the Gulfstream G550 beneath radomes and cheeks fitted for the conformal airborne early warning configuration. Satellite communication antennas and electronic support measure sensors are housed in the tail top fairing.
The E-550's forward radome houses an active electronically scanned phased array antenna, one of four providing 360° coverage to the dual band radar of the EL/W-2085 system.
Electronic support measures are part of the E-550’s electronic intelligence suite and use externally-mounted antennas housed in pods carried on pylons under the outer wings, atop the nose and on the aircraft's fin. Passive in operation, the electronic support measures capture electromagnetic emissions from active systems. The outer wing-mounted pods also house elements of the communication intelligence system.
Equipped with the Honeywell Primus Epic PlaneView flight-deck, Aeronautica Militare E-550 aircrew have a very intuitive cockpit system to fly their high-value machine.