FIA 2022: IAI signs contract with European country for special mission aircraft

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced at the Farnborough Air Show on July 21 that it had signed a contract worth over $200m to provide a special mission aircraft to an unspecified European country.

No details were given regarding the country involved, except that it is a NATO member. The special mission aircraft will be developed by IAI’s Group and subsidiary ELTA Systems Ltd, home to Israel’s radar and intelligence technology. IAI’s special mission aircraft, which are already active in Israel and in many countries around the world, are used to detect, alert and collect strategic intelligence information.

Additionally, IAI did not specify the type of aircraft involved. However, an image accompanying the press release showed a Gulfstream G550 'Nachshon Eitam' Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW)/Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft in Israeli Air Force colours.

Israeli Air Force G550 Nachshon Eitam [IAF/Amit Agronov]
An Israeli Air Force/122 Squadron Gulfstream G550 Nachshon Eitam special mission aircraft. IAI has signed a contract to provide a special mission aircraft to an unspecified European NATO country. Israeli Air Force/Amit Agronov

Boaz Levy, IAI's President and CEO, said: “Time and time again, IAI continues to prove its ground-breaking capabilities, which have high global demand and worldwide appreciation. This contract, at the centre of which are advanced special mission aircraft, is another testament to our unique technologies which are a crucial strategic component to every military utilizing them.”

Yoav Tourgeman, IAI VP and ELTA CEO, said: “The special mission aircraft developed by IAI-ELTA provide our customers with significant advantage and constitute a strategic asset. We are thrilled to win this contract to provide a NATO member country with our advanced technologies. IAI-ELTA continues to achieve major breakthroughs in Special Mission Aircraft capabilities due to ongoing investments in advanced AESA radar technology coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. Our ongoing commitment to provide cutting-edge technologies to our customers, with advanced detection and classification capabilities, will enable success even in the most complicated missions.”

IAI-ELTA offers four lines of Special-Mission Aircraft:

  • AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning & Control) Aircraft utilizing AESA radar and IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe), SIGINT and Communication systems to generate and disseminate an Air and Maritime Situational Picture. It also contains an Air Battle Management and Strike Aircraft Guidance System. ELTA’s CAEW aircraft is fitted with a dual band AESA radar providing complete uncompromised 360° azimuthal coverage and is an example of a high-performance system based on a business jet. IAI has entered into cooperation agreements with Embraer to develop and market additional AEW&C aircraft variants.
  • AGS (Air to Ground Surveillance) aircraft using advanced AESA SAR/GMTI radar, SIGINT and EO/IR sensors and an Intelligence Management System to cover large areas, providing real- time detection, identification, tracking and distribution of surface targets from standoff range in all weather and visibility conditions. A leading product in this category is the IAI-ELTA MARS2 Multi Mission Aircraft that includes a breakthrough Digital AESA SAR/GMTI radar and latest generation SIGINT integrated with an advanced Multi-INT system, carried by a high-performance business jet.
  • MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) equipped with high performance AESA radar, SIGINT and EO/IR sensors to create an up-to-date maritime picture during search-and-rescue missions, maritime patrolling, environmental monitoring, Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) in support of Naval and Coast Guard operations. IAI-ELTA’s MPAs are based on business jets and turboprop platforms featuring the IAI-ELTA mission systems that include the combat proven ELM-2022 radar family, serving in many countries on all continents.
  • SIGINT aircraft monitor the electromagnetic spectrum to detect and accurately locate emitter arrays and communication networks, creating a complete Electromagnetic Order of Battle over the entire large arena of interest. IAI-ELTA has developed and provided advanced SIGINT aircraft to the IDF on business jet platforms and supplied airborne SIGINT systems to many special mission aircraft worldwide.