Corrosion control programme is key to Israeli company's modifications to airframe

The Bedek division of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is offering a major Boeing 707 life extension and upgrade package, based on an aircraft developed for the Israeli air force, which could include a glass cockpit and re-engining.

IAI-Bedek has gained a lot of expertise with the 707, having converted several into tankers and electronic intelligence platforms, mainly for the Israeli air force. The air force recently contracted Bedek for the conversion of an undisclosed number of 707-320s into tankers, with modifications to include the installation of new avionics, a new mission computer with colour displays and advanced communication systems.

According to David Arzi, Bedek general manager, the upgrade programme is partly based on the corrosion prevention control programme (CPCP) that was developed for the Israeli air force 707s. The CPCP is able to detect corrosion in the 707 airframe and fix it, says Arzi. The programme resulted in the air force's recent investment in converting more 707s.

Arzi says IAI is offering various cockpit avionics upgrades and has linked with the Omega Air-led consortium Seven Q Seven to provide its Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 re-engining programme, which provides Chapter 3 noise compliance and improves performance. "We believe such an upgrade, with some airframe work, could enable another 25 years of service," says Arzi.

The re-engining has been offered to the Israeli air force and it is expected that a handful of aircraft that operate into overseas airports will be modified. Arzi says that the cockpit upgrade configuration is flexible, depending on customer requirements.

Avionics will be purchased off the shelf from suppliers including Israeli companies Elbit Systems and IAI's Lahav division, and US companies Honeywell, Litton and Rockwell Collins.

Source: Flight International