Deal with IAI is jettisoned and Elop reconnaissance pod appears under threat

Israel’s leading defence companies are reassessing their potential market opportunities in Turkey, following a sudden and unexplained changed in conditions with the country.

The Turkish defence ministry recently cancelled a follow-on deal with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) for additional Harpy anti-radiation drones and is also believed to be close to terminating a $35 million contract with Elbit Systems’ Elop division for the provision of long-range oblique photography systems (LOROPS).

The Turkish air force in 2000 selected the pod-housed LOROPS to equip its McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom reconnaissance aircraft and Lockheed Martin F-16s, but the equipment has yet to be supplied following technical problems.

An Elop source says difficulties in producing the systems stem from new operational requirements outlined by the Turkish air force and adds that the company has also experienced problems with externally supplied subsystems, including a datalink. The Turkish authorities have not yet “closed the lid” on the deal, says Elbit. IAI, meanwhile, refuses to comment on its aborted second Harpy order from Ankara.

Israeli defence sources describe the current trading conditions with Turkey as “very worrying”, as the country is viewed as a major potential market for Israeli defence and aerospace technologies. Several previously negotiated deals have also failed to progress to the delivery phase, including the planned purchase of intelligence satellites from IAI.


Source: Flight International