Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD), has established a contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a Gulfstream G550 aircraft.
This $40.7 million contract award is for the base airframe, which will be modified for use in supporting hurricane and tropical storm forecasts, atmospheric research, and other NOAA missions. NOAA expects to award additional contract line items for spare parts and airframe modifications to accommodate scientific instrumentation.
“Gulfstream has been providing aircraft to the U.S. government for more than 50 years,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “We are proud to continue the partnership with NOAA’s G550. Our aircraft platforms provide government and military customers with the flexibility, range and altitude capabilities perfect for demanding missions.”
The G550 will be built at Gulfstream’s factory in Savannah, Georgia. The fully instrumented aircraft is expected to join NOAA’s fleet in late 2022.
Once delivered and instrumented, the G550 will supplement the capabilities of NOAA’s existing Gulfstream IV-SP high-altitude “Hurricane Hunter” jet, which is best known for flying above and around hurricanes to support accurate track and intensity forecasts. The new aircraft will help NOAA meet the requirements of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017.
The G550 is Gulfstream’s most popular model for special missions and government configurations. With a maximum range of 6,750 nautical miles/12,501 kilometers at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.80 and more than 55 speed records, the G550 can reach high altitudes quickly, fly far for long durations and provide good value with better fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs over other special missions platforms.