General Dynamics has drawn a contract from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to supply a Gulfstream G550 aircraft to support the agency’s weather forecasting and research efforts. The aircraft carries a list price of $61.5 million, though the manufacturer did not indicate the value of the government order.
The manufacturer did not report the delivery schedule for the new aircraft.
NOAA is a U.S. Dept. of Commerce scientific agency charged with researching and reporting on the conditions of the oceans and major waterways, and the Earth’s atmosphere. One of its responsibilities is to monitor and warn of dangerous weather conditions, chart seas, guide the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conduct environmental research.
The G550 is a twin-engine aircraft developed and manufactured by General Dynamics’s subsidiary Gulfstream Aerospace, and typically outfitted as a private or business jet. It’s also reportedly Gulfstream’s most popular model for special mission and government configurations. It has a maximum range of 6,750 nautical miles/12,501 km at Mach 0.80. It can reach high altitudes quickly, fly far for long durations, with better fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs than other special-mission aircraft.
“Gulfstream has been providing aircraft to the U.S. government for more than 50 years,” stated the business unit’s president, Mark Burns. “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.”