Mark Hannant

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is in upbeat mood with new products on display, contracts already signed at the show and a bulging order book on the back of its record breaking year in 1998.

The Avionics Capabilities Enhancement (ACE) upgraded F-16 is displayed here for the first time.

A maiden flight is planned for the last quarter of 2000 and the actual upgrade of the Israeli air force F-16s could take place as early as 2001.

IAI has been working with Lahav and Elbit Systems as well as original manufacturer Lockheed Martin to develop a configuration giving pilots a state-of-the-art radar for air-to-air incorporating Synthetic Operative Radar capability for air-to-ground operations.

It features an El-Op head-up display integrated with Elbit's display and sight helmet. Visitors can sit in the upgraded cockpit at IAI's static display.


Also on show, for the first time outside Israel, are portions of the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system including the fire control centre, the launcher and the surrogate missile.

The Arrow system will be the world's first fully deployed national anti-ballistic missile system.

It was also announced yesterday that IAI is to join the TRW/S-TEC team pursuing the US Army's close range tactical unmanned ariel vehicle (UAV) contract. With a backlog of $3 billion in orders, IAI is in the best of financial health.

Company president Moshe Keret says: "We have out-performed the targets I set five years ago. It gives us the stability needed to ensure that we remain a top player in the aerospace industry."

The success of the Galaxy business jet has, he says, been a significant element in IAI's shifting business profile which is reflected in a much higher proportion of its income coming from commercial sales.

IAI will deliver 21 Galaxy business jets in 1999 and predicts two a month will roll out of Tel Aviv in 2000.

Source: Flight Daily News