C-11 / VC-11 Gulfstream II
The C-11 is a military modification of the commercial Gulfstream II aircraft, manufactured by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (GAC) Savannah, Georgia. The first "Gulfstream" II prototype flew on October 2, 1966. By the end of production in 1979 a total of 256 aircraft were built. The Gulfstream VC-11A is used as a small transport by the Coast Guard. It is based on the twin engine Gulfstream that is used in commerical aviation.
The C-11A Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) is a modified Grumman American Aviation-built Gulfstream II executive jet that was modified to simulate an orbiter's cockpit, motion and visual cues, and handling qualities. It is used by Shuttle flight crews to practice landing the orbiter. In flight, the STA duplicates the orbiter's atmospheric descent trajectory from approximately 35,000 feet altitude to landing on a runway. Although the STA is much lighter and smaller than the Space Shuttle, it simulates, with some trajectory following error, the aerodynamics of the Space Shuttle. The orbiter differs in at least one major aspect from conventional aircraft; it is unpowered during re-entry and landing so its high-speed glide must be perfectly executed the first time -- there is no go- around capability. The orbiter touchdown speed is 213 to 226 miles (343 to 364 kilometers) per hour. There are two STAs, based in Houston.
The Huntsville-based Army Missile Defense and Space Technology Center [MDSTC] manages the High Altitude Observatory (HALO) program for BMDO. The HALO is an instrumented Gulfstream II-B optical data collection aircraft providing airborne collection of multispectral (spanning the ultraviolet through the longwave infrared), imaging (calibrated radiometric and photo documentary), optical signature data on targets of interest including reentry vehicles, missile plume phenomenology, and missile/target intercepts, and intercept debris characterization and kill assessment. The mobile test asset supports a variety of user organizations with sustaining funds provided by BMDO and augmented by user funds for specific missions activities.