Israel Aerospace Industries is ramping up production of the G150 and G200 business jets that it manufactures for Gulfstream at its Tel Aviv base. IAI is hoping to expand its portfolio of aircraft products to include a very light jet and regional aircraft to exploit its design and manufacturing capability.
IAI manufactures 72 mid-size G150s and super-mid-size G200s a year, but vice-president and general manager of engineering and development Gad Cohen says the company will accelerate production to 100 aircraft a year "as early as 2011".
Cohen says IAI will have to expand its manufacturing base to cater for additional production. "We will build a new flightline hangar. Until this is ready we will use an empty terminal building at Ben-Gurion airport, adjacent to our facilities."
Cohen says IAI is evaluating development of a VLJ and new-generation regional aircraft, but if it goes ahead, "the preferred formula is to do it with a partner".
IAI is no stranger to the VLJ/personal jet market. In 2004 the company formed a strategic partnership with Aviation Technology Group of the USA to co-develop the two-seat Javelin as a business jet and a military trainer. The programme was halted late last year however after ATG failed to secure the necessary funding to continue development.
The 200th G200 business jet, formerly the Galaxy, rolled off the IAI production line on 4 June, less than 10 years after the first aircraft entered service. The aircraft will be transported to Gulfstream's Dallas Texas completion centre for outfitting and painting.
Source: Flight International