From Merkavas to business jets

Ashot Ashkelon, a subsidiary of Israel Military Industries, is trying to get involved in the design of a new business jet.

The company is mainly known for its part in manufacturing heavy mechanical subsystems for Israel’s Merkava main battle tank, and now plans to transfer more of its capabilities to the aerospace market.

The company – which until now mainly made built-to-print parts for the aerospace industry – wants to participate in the design of aircraft parts, especially those involved in power transmission.

Ashot recently purchased a US-based company, and is now looking for a European firm to expand its aerospace business.

Company president Dan Katz told me that while civil aircraft is the main target market for the company, the firm is also making an effort to get involved in the design and manufacture of power transmission systems for military aircraft.

“We have gained huge experience in making aircraft and jet engine parts, and think that it is time to use our know-how to design more efficient parts,” he said.

The company has invested in new machining equipment, and a few days ago announced its financial results for 2011 - sales of $70 million and a net profit of approximately $9 million. “We are growing in every parameter and we will continue doing this”, Katz said.

Aerospace technology now constitutes one third of the company’s production output – and the firm’s efforts are focused on increasing that amount in the near future.

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