The IAI EL/W-2085 is an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) multi-band radar system developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elta Electronics Industries of Israel. Its primary objective is to provide intelligence to maintain air superiority and conduct surveillance. The system is currently in-service with Israel and Singapore, and in the future Italy and the United States.
Design and featuresEdit
The EL/W-2085 was developed from the single-band EL/M-2075 "Phalcon" system.
Instead of using a rotodome, a moving radar found on some AEW&C aircraft, the EL/W-2085 uses an active electronically scanned array (AESA) – an active phased array radar. This radar consists of an array of transmit/receive (T/R) modules that allow a beam to be electronically steered, making a physically rotating rotodome unnecessary. AESA radars operate on a pseudorandom set of frequencies and also have very short scanning rates, which makes them difficult to detect and jam. Up to 100 targets can be tracked simultaneously to a range of 200 nmi (370 km), while at the same time, over a dozen air-to-air interceptions or air-to-ground attacks can be guided. The radar equipment of the Israeli CAEW consists of each one L-band radar left and right sides on the fuselage and each one S-band antenna in nose and tail. The phased array allows positions of aircraft on operator screens to be updated every 2–4 seconds, rather than every 20–40 seconds as is the case on the rotodome AWACS.
Circa 2005 the Israeli Air Force purchased five Gulfstream G550-based Eitam aircraft to serve as the new IDF platform for its newer generation of AEW systems. The new aircraft use the EL/W-2085 dual-band sensor suite, and are more capable and less expensive to operate than the older Boeing 707-based EL/M-2075. Extensive modifications were made to the Gulfstream's fuselage by IAI, such as the addition of protruding composite radomes, to house the radar arrays in conformal body modifications. Based at Nevatim Airbase.
- Israel - A number of Gulfstream G550 platforms fitted with the EL/W-2085 radar, called "Nahshon-Eitam" or "Eitam".
- Italy - After Israel chose the Italian M-346 advanced trainer aircraft for the Israeli Air Force in 2012, Italy ordered two G550-based AEW&C systems as an industrial offset. The cost of the two systems is around US$850 million. The first aircraft was delivered on 19 December 2016.
- Singapore - Four Gulfstream G550 platforms in service. Each costing approximately US$375 million.
- United States - In 2015, the US Navy announced it will purchase a Gulfstream G550 airframe that's modified for the conformal airborne early warning system (CAEW), with Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta Systems as prime contractor and systems integrator for the G550 CAEW aircraft. Whether the jet will actually carry the same internal systems is not clear.
- Australia - In late 2015, RAAF announced that it would purchase the Gulfstream G550 in a SIGINT/ELINT configuration to upgrade the RAAF's capabilities and complement the E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft. Deliveries are expected to commence by late 2017.
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