The Israeli air force appears to have stepped back from becoming the possible launch customer for a military trainer version of the Javelin very light jet, citing the type’s lack of “proven experience” as a problem. “On paper the potential is excellent, but we don’t like to be the first customer for any aircraft,” says a senior service official.

Javelin Israel

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is teamed with the USA’s Aviation Technology Group (ATG) to develop and market two military variants of the Javelin, which made its first flight in the Mk10 civilian standard last September and is expected to receive certification during 2008 (Flight International, 11-17 October 2005).

ATG and IAI plan to manufacture a Mk20 basic trainer version that will be identical in size to the civil-standard Javelin, but will be equipped with ejection seats and military avionics. To be manufactured in Israel by IAI, the Mk20 will be powered by two Williams International FJ33-4 engines with a thrust rating of around 1,500lb (6.7kN).

To also be manufactured by IAI, a proposed Mk30 version would have more powerful engines, requiring the companies to redesign the aft fuselage section. To be offered as a replacement for lead-in trainers such as the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet, McDonnell Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk and Northrop T-38 Talon, the aircraft will have a unit cost of $6-8 million, according to IAI.

The company had originally hoped to launch development of the Mk20 and Mk30 military versions this year, but it is unclear whether the Israeli air force’s reluctance to commit to the project could threaten this schedule.


Source: Flight International