Italy Renews Lease on Lockheed’s Gulfstream SIGINT Aircraft Through 2016

Lockheed Martin BlueItaly has extended its lease on Lockheed Martin‘s Gulfstream III signals intelligence aircraft through the spring of 2016 amid security concerns in Libya and Tunisia, Defense News reported Saturday.

Tom Kington writes that Lockheed’s Airborne Multi-INT Laboratory provides communications and electronic intelligence functions and works as a “flying ISR test bed” equipped with a ground data link and electro-optic sensor.

The SIGINT aircraft, which will be operated by the Italian military, is currently completing maintenance in the U.S. and will fly back to Italy by the end of the month, the report said.

Gabriele Iacovino, an analyst at the Center for International Studies, told Defense News that the lease agreement should be temporary as Italy prepares to take part in a European military operation to secure the Mediterranean region.

Kington reports that U.S. Africa Command has also chartered daily surveillance flights over North Africa in partnership with the Italian government using a Beechcraft King Air 350ER.

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