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Italy is taking a giant leap in its early warning and airborne electronic warfare: eight planes for these missions

The Italian Air Force will dramatically improve its early warning and electronic warfare capabilities in the air with the installation of up to eight aircraft based on a Gulfstream 550 aircraft equipped with Israeli sensors and the Italian Leonardo group.

The acquisition program was confirmed by Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini before the Italian Parliament and eight special aircraft were acquired for the AMI (Aeronautica Militare Italiana), four for early warning missions or CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning). as well as many other multi-functions of the JAMMS variant (Joint Airborne Multisensor Multimission System).

They will use the North American Gulfstream 550 Twinjet as a joint platform and join the two CAEWs that were already used by the Italian Air Force after their delivery in 2016 and 2017. With this system, Italy is at the forefront of the NATO countries that have this autonomous capability. which, for example, the Spanish Air Force lacks.

The involvement of the CAEWs resulted from an earlier defense agreement between Italy and Israel through which Israel acquired 30 units of the Leonardo M-346 trainer aircraft and that country’s industry, led by the IAI firm, took over the AEW&C functions ( Airborne Early Warning & Control) for Italy, one of the most modern and efficient systems of its kind in Europe.

No figures have been given for the new contract at the moment, but the Italian defense program budget for 2020-2022 has already reserved more than 1,200 million euros for the acquisition of the 4 JAMMS. This draft decree has already reached the parliamentary committees in Rome for approval with the following text: “Multiannual program of A / R SMD 03/2020, related to the acquisition, operation and support of a multi-mission and multi-sensor overhead platform for the implementation of the characterization, monitoring and monitoring of the tactical-operational situation, decision support at strategic and operational level, command (command) and control (C2) multi-domain and electronic protection.

According to local reports, Italy could also set up a maintenance center for the aircraft on its territory, which could also serve as a maintenance center for other operators’ Gulfstream. According to the IAI, CAEW aircraft use side-mounted radars to capture the air and sea situation with 360-degree surveillance of air targets at all altitudes. The systems installed include an advanced four-dimensional AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar with 360-degree detection, identification and tracking of air and surface targets. The aircraft also has an Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system, which detects transmitters in a wide frequency range, and a NATO-compatible communications system jointly manufactured by the Israeli company ELTA and the Italian multinational Leonardo.

Although the project is still in a preliminary phase, Leonardo’s involvement in this important project will undoubtedly be much larger than the first two devices acquired. (Julio Maz Sanz)

Photo: One of two current Gulfstream CAEWs from AMI. (Photo Julio Maz / )

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