The long-delayed consolidation of the Israeli defence industry began on 7 June, with Elta's move to buy 30% of the Elisra defence group.

The surprise announcement followed negotiations between Elisra and Elbit Systems, which showed interest in acquiring a stake in the Elisra group owned by the Koor industrial concern. According to the agreement, Elta, a fully owned subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), will pay $330 million for the 30% share. Elta will have an option to acquire another 8%.

The agreement is subject toIsraeli government and anti-trust authority approval and, if giventhe go-ahead, it will link Israel's two major manufacturers of electronic warfare (EW) systems. Sources say that IAI was willingto accept Elisra's valuation, as part of its efforts to limit Elbit's expansion plans.

Elbit, a private company, has recently expanded into the unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and space markets by acquiring UAV manufacturer Silver Arrow and ELOP, Israel's manufacturer ofaerial and space photography systems, and has strengthened its fighter upgrade capabilities by acquiring the Cyclone facility in northern Israel.

The Elisra group includes EW manufacturer Elisra; Tadiran Systems, manufacturing command and control systems; simulator and rangeless debriefing system producer BVR; and Spectralink, which manufactures advanced datalinks and rescue locators for pilots.

Source: Flight International