Brazil and Chile have emerged as two of the most promising markets for Israel Aerospace Industries-promoted special mission aircraft, with the company now negotiating with a number of countries in the region.

An IAI source says that while unmanned air systems will be able to perform such roles in the future, the current demand is mainly for business jet-sized platforms, such as its airborne early warning system based on the Gulfstream G550.

Last year IAI's Elta Systems subsidiary announced that it had converted and delivered a compact intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to a Latin American customer. Several such examples of the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350-based ELI-3120 are now in service with undisclosed nations, under deals worth about a combined $100 million.

The ELI-3120 carries an Elta communications intelligence system, a datalink to relay information to a command and control centre and an MSOP electro-optical/infrared sensor supplied by IAI's Tamam division. Tasks can include supporting law enforcement missions to prevent drug production and smuggling, plus monitoring for illegal deforestation and border crossing.

Using such an aircraft is a preferred solution in areas with air traffic control limitations that may restrict operations with unmanned air systems, says Elta. Additional payloads for the type could include a maritime surveillance radar, synthetic aperture radar and satellite communications.

Source: Flight International