Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said Monday (8 June) that it has signed a US$350 million ‘Special Mission Aircraft’ contract with a “major European country”. The contract will be executed by IAI’s ELTA Systems. IAI has delivered Special Mission Aircraft to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and numerous countries worldwide and the aircraft are considered to be strategic assets. IAI said it has achieved a breakthrough in Special Mission Aircraft thanks to advanced sensor miniaturisation technology coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning software applications, allowing high performance business jets to be used as Special Mission Aircraft. Previously, most of the Special Mission Aircraft in the world were based on converted cargo or passenger planes.
Gideon Landa, ELTA vice president and general manager of Airborne Systems said: “As part of IAI’s strategy, we are bolstering our presence in Europe for leveraging our business and extending cooperation. IAI’s Special Mission Aircraft offer advanced and unique technological capabilities to meet a broad range of most demanding intelligence missions. Europe represents a strategic business region for IAI, and we will continue to broaden our products and services to bring our unique technologies to the benefit of our customer’s evolving operational requirements.”
IAI/ELTA offers four lines of Special Mission Aircraft:
- AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning & Control) aircraft utilising AESA radar and IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe), SIGINT and Communication systems to generate and disseminate an Air and Maritime Situational Picture. It also contains an Air Battle Management and Strike Aircraft Guidance System. ELTA’s CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft is fitted with a dual band AESA radar providing complete uncompromised 360-degree azimuthal coverage and is an example of a leading in the class system based on a business jet. IAI has entered into cooperation agreements with Airbus and Embraer to develop and market additional AEW&C aircraft variants.
- AGS (Air to Ground Surveillance) aircraft using advanced AESA SAR/GMTI radar, SIGINT and EO/IR sensors and an Intelligence Management System to cover large areas, providing real-time detection, identification, tracking and distribution of surface targets from standoff range in all weather and visibility conditions. A leading product in this category is the IAI MARS2 that includes a breakthrough Digital AESA SAR/GMTI radar and latest generation SIGINT integrated with an advanced Multi-INT system, carried by a high performance business jet.
- MPA (Maritime Patrol) aircraft equipped with high performance AESA radar, SIGINT and EO/IR sensors to create an up-to-date maritime picture during Search And Rescue missions, Maritime policing, Environmental Monitoring, Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) in support of Naval and Coast Guard operations. ELTA’s MPAs are based on business jets and turboprop platforms featuring the world leader combat proven ELM-2022 radar family, serving in many countries on all continents.
- SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) aircraft monitoring the electromagnetic spectrum to detect and accurately locate emitter arrays and communication networks, creating a complete Electromagnetic Order of Battle over the entire large arena of interest. ELTA has developed and provided most advanced SIGINT aircraft to the IDF on business jet platform and supplied airborne SIGINT systems to many Special Mission Aircraft worldwide.