New range-support aircraft replacement for Navy passes first phase

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. The U.S. Navy's Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) Commercial Modifications and Range Support (CMARS) Team recently accepted delivery of its newest commercial-derivative aircraft platform.

The Gulfstream G550 -- sporting structural modifications to allow room for installation of a telemetry system and additional equipment to support future missions -- is slated to serve as the replacement for one of the aging P-3 range support aircraft operated out of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in Point Mugu, California.

Program Manager Capt. Steven Nassau spoke about the complexity of this acquisition: “Just getting to this point has been a process,” said Nassau. “The team had to coordinate with AIR-5.0 Test and Evaluation leadership, AIR-2.0 Contracts, AIR-5.2 Ranges, and AIR-5.1 test squadrons for mission equipment and airframe expertise, as well as AIR-6.0 Logistics for sustainment to keep this acquisition on schedule. Delivering the aircraft under cost and on schedule is a major milestone for such a complicated project.”

Navy personnel say that Phase Two of the project will begin with the Phase II Integrator, Raytheon, receiving the G550 aircraft as government-furnished property; Raytheon will then develop, procure, and integrate systems that will give the aircraft a multirole capability in telemetry data collection, range safety and surveillance, and relay. The aircraft's modern phased-array telemetry system will enable support of  major programs in complex, robust, and dynamic test environments for many years.

U.S. Navy photo.

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