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IAI ponders designs for new light business jet

Israel Aerospace Industries is evaluating a number of designs for its light business jet and plans to present the shortlisted concepts to potential funding partners by the end of the year.

The company is keeping details of the programme under wraps for the time being.

IAI chairman Rafi Maor recently revealed that a light jet "is still being evaluated by the company and [its design] is based on a revolutionary approach”.

Last year, Flightglobal learned that IAI had become involved in an effort to develop a six-seat executive jet that will offer low-cost travel at ranges of up to 1,300nm (2,400km).

Since then, IAI says it has been working with some potential partners.

The planned project is another attempt from IAI to get into the civil aviation market with something unique, based on its long experience of designing and manufacturing aircraft.

IAI has previously made two short-lived forays into the low end of the business aircraft market. The first venture came in the late 1990s, when the Israeli company signed a co-operation agreement with US start-up Avocet to co-develop a very light jet.

The twin-engined ProJet was designed for six passengers and intended to have the capability to take off and land in as little as 914m (3,000ft). The type was intended to fly at 365kt (675km/h) up to an altitude of 41,000ft, with a maximum cruising range of 1,200nm.

The programme was cancelled in 2006, after Avocet failed to secure additional partnerships to help complete development.

A year earlier in 2005, IAI established a strategic partnership with Colorado-based start-up Aviation Technology Group to co-develop the two-seat Javelin personal jet. However, this project was also cancelled two years later, because of a lack of funding.

While IAI's previous involvement with business aircraft start-ups has been unsuccessful, the company has been manufacturing two types of business jets, the midsize G150 and super-midsize G280, marketed by Gulfstream.

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