Arie Egozi/TEL AVIV

The co-operation between General Dynamics (GD) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) will extend beyond the acquisition of business jet supplier Galaxy Aerospace, with IAI and GD-owned Gulfstream teaming on the development of new aircraft, possibly a supersonic business jet, says Moti Boness, general manager of IAI's civil aircraft division.

Gulfstream's former supersonic partner Lockheed Martin Skunk Works was forced to withdraw from the programme last year because of financial difficulties.

IAI and Gulfstream will invest in developing new versions of the super mid-size Galaxy and the mid-size Astra SPX. "For the Galaxy, changes will probably include stretching the fuselage and fitting a larger wing," Boness says.

Gulfstream is also keen to develop military versions of the Galaxy and Astra, for which it anticipates a large market. Boness acknowledges the US manufacturer plans to offer the two business jets as platforms for a variety of defence missions.

IAI, keen to expand links with Gulfstream, predicts that business jet manufacturers will be caught up in a wave of consolidation, shrinking the market to around four leading players. Boness reveals that Dassault had also approached IAI to discuss teaming on the design, manufacture and sale of executive jets. IAI opted instead to co-operate on future projects with Gulfstream.

The US manufacturer is considering renaming the Galaxy and Astra business jets to incorporate the Gulfstream brand.

Source: Flight International