In a further purchase illustrating the emerging gulf between Tasman defence capabilities, the Australian government is spending $A2.46bn on four Gulfstream G550 Peregrine business jets to be modified in the US modified for the electronic warfare (EW) mission.
Defence Minister Chris Pyne says the Peregrine is a new airborne electronic warfare capability which will be integrated into Defence’s joint war-fighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms, including the Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail, EA-18G Growler electronic strike aircraft warships and Army assets.
The aircraft will be based at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia alongside the RAAF P-8A Poseidons and its incoming fleet of Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAVs. In addition, the RAAF’s future contingent of MQ-9 Reapers will operate from the base.
Modifications will include mission systems and secure communications equipment. The work will be undertaken at L3’s Greenville site in Texas.
A self-protection suite will also be installed, with other programme elements to include ground-based data processing systems, plus spare parts and crew training services.
The RAAF says the 2016 defence White Paper indicated there was an electronic warfare co-ordination role not being filled. Officers say the G550 will serve as “ the conductor of the orchestra”.