IAI, Airbus to develop early warning plane

Aviation experts: Sales of the C295 AEW&C could total billions of dollars.

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) and Airbus Military have established a new collaboration to develop and market an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) plane. The companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today at the 2011 Paris Air Show Le Bourget, after more than one year of negotiations.

The system will be based on Airbus's C295 turboprop plane outfitted with AEW&C systems made by IAI subsidiary Elta Systems. The C295 is a cargo and naval reconnaissance plane, which will be converted to carry Elta's radars and sensors.

A prototype of the plane landed at Le Bourget airfield for the Paris Air Show and was unveiled to the public. The prototype was built at Airbus Military's factory in Seville, Spain.

IAI and Airbus Military said that the plane's systems would include Elta's 4th Generation Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar with integrated IFF (identification fried or foe). The C295 AEW&C has been designed to provide high quality 360 surveillance, creating in real-time an integrated air and maritime situation picture and electronic order of battle. The plane's situation picture is shared with friendly forces via network-centric data links.

For IAI and Elta, the C295 AEW&C will join the companies' list of products for airborne early warning systems.

Aviation experts at the Paris Air Show told "Globes" that potential sales of the C295 AEW&C could total billions of dollars over the next decade.

Elta president Nissim Hadas told "Globes" that this was a strategic agreement. "Global demand for AEW planes like this is expected to grow in the coming years, due to terrorism threats and the need to tighten border controls, as well as for airborne control. Many countries around the world sense the need for such systems, and we're offering a relevant package for this market. I have no doubt that this agreement with a subsidiary of a giant like Airbus will enable us to break into new markets worldwide."

Hadas added, "In the era of globalization, there is a need for state-of-the-art systems that can be delivered in a very short time that can only be met through such collaborations in order to stay relevant in competitive markets"

IAI CEO Itzhak Nissim called the plane, "a strategic force multiplier."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 21, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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