The Israeli air force will purchase additional Gulfstream V business jets to be converted to airborne early warning (AEW) platforms.

Israel Aircraft Industries' (IAI) Elta division is offering the Phalcon AEW system and US companies will also be invited to offer radar systems so the air force can take advantage of the US foreign military sales funding system.

The order for AEW platforms is expected to cover three or four aircraft. Last year the Israeli air force ordered three GVs to be converted into electronic and signals intelligence platforms to replace ageing Boeing 707s in these roles.

Israel has had a long-standing requirement for AEW aircraft since it retired its Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeyes some years ago.

IAI has been working on reduced-size Phalcon systems for "tactical markets". The one in-service system is mounted on a Chilean air force 707 while China had planned to use a Beriev A-50, a modified Ilyushin Il-76.

Meanwhile, the air force is expanding its outsourcing contracts and has issued a tender for support of its McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawks, which are used as advanced trainers.

Elbit Systems and IAI are competing for the multi-year contract, with the winner to be paid on a per flying hour basis.

The contract will allow the air force to allocate more technical staff to maintaining new Lockheed MartinF-16Is that are to be delivered from next year.

IAI's Bedek division has been maintaining the air force's 707s, Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules and Aerospatiale Zukit (Magister) trainers, while Elbit recently won the contract to supply and operate Grob 120A elementary trainers.

Source: Flight International