From Israel with love: Tel Aviv eyes Indian market

IAI G550 AEW.jpg

There is little surprise that Israel will have a major presence at the Aero India 2009 show in Bangalore next week, especially since it has become India’s second largest arms supplier after Russia in the last few years.

One of the highlights will next week will be Israel Aerospace Industries’ Gulfstream G550-based conformal airborne early warning and control (CAEW) system aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with a conformal dual-band active electronically scanned array radar, plus identification friend-or-foe equipment, electronic support measures and an integrated self-protection system. It also has a comprehensive communication suite designed to support network-centric operations.

IAI officials recently cited India as a potential customer for additional airborne early warning systems, with Elta already poised to deliver the nation’s first Ilyushin Il-76 modified for the role. And this is only the second time that the aircraft will be on display at an air show.

Developed by IAI’s Elta Systems subsidiary for the Israeli defence ministry, the modified business jet was delivered to the Israeli air force in February 2008 and has subsequently entered operational service. A second example was delivered in May 2008. Singapore has also ordered four aircraft, the first of which was due to have been delivered by end-2008.

Given that each G550 with the radar is estimated to cost around $250 million, the aircraft will not come cheap. But money is available for the India’s armed forces modernisation programme, the country is keen to increase it surveillance abilities, and the country will certainly take a close look at the G550 AEW if the Israelis are keen to push it.

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