US Army Selects Bombardier Global 6500

Global 6500

Bombardier has been awarded a contract to sell at least one Global 6500 jet to the U.S. Army, according to an announcement on Wednesday (Jan. 3). Included in the contract is an option for the purchase of an additional two 6500s. The aircraft, a variant of Bombardier’s Global Express series, will serve as a prototype airframe for a new spy plane, the American military branch announced. First delivery is planned for October 2024.

The spy plane program, named the High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System (HADES), is intended to develop a replacement aircraft for the Guardrail Common Sensor aircraft, which is based on the Beechcraft King Air B200 turboprop and for which spare parts are becoming increasingly difficult to source.

“HADES will bring the Army increased range, speed, endurance, and aerial ISR depth,” according to Colonel Joe Minor, project manager for the Army’s fixed-wing aircraft. “HADES will operate at higher altitudes than legacy turboprop platforms.”

Military derivatives of Bombardier’s Global Express jets are currently in service in 10 countries. In the United States, the US Air Force uses theirs, which they designate as the Bombardier E-11A, for battlefield airborne communication.

Other Bombardier business-type jets are in use with the U.S. military, such as two Challenger 650s that the US Army uses for its Aerial Reconnaissance and Targeting Exploitation Multi-Mission Intelligence System (ARTEMIS). The US Coast Guard also uses 650s as VIP transport. Altogether, military variants of the Challenger 600 series are in use with 13 countries around the world.