Israel's prime position in the fighter upgrade market could prove a winner in the Asia-Pacific region, said a member of the Israeli delegation at Asian Aerospace yesterday.

With Elbit Systems' "Flightshow" making its debut at the show, aircraft upgrade division marketing manager Shay Arad believes that cash-strapped countries in the region could switch from purchasing new aircraft fleets to upgrading existing fighters.

"They do not have the money for new aircraft and that gives us an advantage because we are the specialists when it comes to upgrading aircraft," says Arad. "With budgets coming down, many people believe the next step is to take old platforms and equip them with new avionics systems which are equivalent to systems in new aircraft, if not better."

The company has a track record of upgrading a range of aircraft, including McDonnell Douglas F-4s and Northrop F-5s. Its capability is amply demonstrated at its stand in Hall A (738) where it is showing off what it claims is the "world's most advanced glass cockpit" together with equipment such as its DASH Display and Sight Helmet.

Fitted in an F-5 cockpit, all the elements of the company's upgrade programmes and avionics capabilities are displayed on a panoramic screen.

The glass cockpit features two multifunction colour displays presenting radar information, tactical data and engine performance instruments.

Elbit's DASH helmet is operational and in series production for Israel Air Force aircraft and the technology is destined for US Air Force fighters under a joint venture programme. The system measures the pilot's line of sight and transfers information to the aircraft's other systems. This allows the pilot to achieve lock-on of sensors, avionics and weapons simply by looking at it.

Arad says that an upgraded F-5 equipped with this and other upgrade technology can be a match for a Lockheed Martin F-16. "All you have to do is look at him and you can kill him," he says.

Source: Flight Daily News