Israeli Aircraft Industries is one of several international aerospace companies bidding on a $1.5 billion contract for four new ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) aircraft. South Korean is interested in a system developed for the Israeli Air Force, which is entering service this summer. Firms from the U.S. (Boeing), Britain (Thales) and Russia are also competing for the business, but the Israeli offer from IAI/ELTA appears to have an edge. The Israeli proposal is called "AEW/Gulfstream to Korea" and will install radar and electronics in a Gulfstream G-550 aircraft. Israel has already sold a similar system to India, with the equipment installed aboard a Russian Il-50/76 aircraft.
The Koreans aircraft will include phased array radar, equipment to capture and analyze enemy electronic transmissions and a heavy duty communications set up. The G-550 configuration will have, in addition to the flight crew, six equipment operators. The Israelis feel that their G-550-based system reduces the cost against such competition as Boeing's likely offer of the 737, which is far larger and costlier to both acquire and operate. The G-550-based system can do anything one based on the 737 can, while being over $50 million cheaper.
The Gulfstream G-550 has range in excess of 11,000 kilometers, a cruising altitude of 51,000 feet, and speeds to 1,000 kilometers an hour. In its business configuration it nominally carries 14-18, including flight crew. The Korean ISR version would carry a total crew of 8-10.
Korea plans to decide upon vendor by the end of FY04. The aircraft will be used for unspecified ISR duties. Delivery of aircraft has not yet been estimated K.B. Sherman