Friday, April 13, 2012

Singapore Air Force declares Gulfstream AEWs operational

A little over two years after the first aircraft landed in Singapore in February 2009, the Republic of Singapore Air Force has declared it's fleet of four Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning Aircraft (CAEW) fully operational in a ceremony this afternoon, Singapore time. Flown by 111 Squadron based at Tengah in western Singapore, the squadron has already operated the CAEWs in multinational exercises such as Cope Tiger and Bersama Lima while working up to Full Operational Capability. The CAEWs, the last of which was only delivered in October 2011, have replaced a similar number of Grumman E-2C Group 0 Hawkeyes which have been in service with the RSAF since 1987.

Based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet, the CAEWs are outfitted with the EL/W-2085 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) active phased array radar by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in Tel Aviv, following completion as standard bizjets by Gulfstream Aerospace. It is believed the RSAF's CAEWs are mostly similar to the Eitams operated by the Israeli Air Force, although the Singaporean aircraft may contain some local customisation.

Compared to the E-2Cs, the CAEW provides improved performance in terms of higher operating altitude (up to 41,000 feet), longer range and increased time on station (9 hours). In addition to its obviously more capable radar comprising L-band sensors on the fuselage sides and dual S-band radar arrays at the front and rear providing continuous 360° coverage, the main AEW performance advantages result from the capability to point the radar beams in any direction in space at any time, with the beam's parameters controlled by the radar computer.

Just a side note, it is worth noting that even in this day and age, the report in Singapore's government controlled affiliated Straits Times newspaper, along with the Ministry of Defence's report (see below for link), still does not seem to mention the word "Israel" (I stand to be corrected, as I have not subscribed, and hence do not have access to the whole Straits Times article) even though anyone with even a passing interest in the topic will know of Israel's involvement in the CAEW and the country's close defence ties with Singapore. Still the Lord Voldemort (i.e "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named") in Singapore's defence circles, obviously.

Link: 111 Sqn attains Full Operational Capability with the Gulfstream G550 AEW (Singapore Ministry of Defence)


  1. "Israel" was actually named in the Straits time report. It is named as the other nation that have Gulfstream G550 as CAEW

  2. Fair point, I guess I didn't make it clear that I meant that it is still not widely (or at all?) acknowledged that Israel supplies Singapore with military hardware and more.

    If ST had named Israel as the other G550 AEW user, it could be interpreted by the casual reader that Israel is also an end user like Singapore, when in fact it supplied the radar and the conversion.