The Aeronautica Militare (AM, Italian Air Force) announced on March 29 that its first Gulfstream G550 aircraft for the Multisensor Multi-Mission System (MMMS) programme has arrived at Pratica di Mare Air Base in Pomezia, Lazio, following a nine-hour direct flight from Dallas, Texas.
The unmodified aircraft (serial MM62293 ‘14-13’) was flown to Italy by a mixed crew of personnel from both 14° Stormo’s (Wing’s) 71° Gruppo (Squadron) and the AM’s Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV, Experimental Flight Department), who carried out a number of preparatory activities for the new platform’s introduction. In Italian service, the G550 MMMS fleet will be operated by 71° Gruppo.
According to the AM, the unmodified platform will initially be tasked with conducting training and transport missions in order to enhance the deployment capabilities of the unit, which was activated in 2016 and has since been operating the air arm’s two-strong fleet of Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) configured G550s (known locally as E-550As).
Once the new G550 has matured its deployment capabilities, it will receive a sophisticated mission suite, which will convert it into an MMMS platform. The AM states that, when the type has been upgraded with its special-mission sensors, “it will be able to expand the information supply of the [Italian Ministry of Defence].”
Notably, this initial aircraft arrived at Pratica di Mare sporting the insignia of 14° Stormo, along with a special tail logo to mark the 50th anniversary of 71° Gruppo, which was first established on March 1, 1972.
Italy plans to acquire eight G550s under the first phase of the MMMS programme. The aircraft will join the two G550 CAEWs that are based at Pratica di Mare.
On December 15, 2020, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the US State Department had approved the Foreign Military Sale of two G550 Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (AISREW) platforms to Italy under the nation’s MMMS programme. L3Harris is known to be serving as the principle contractor in the delivery of these aircraft.