A defense deal between the governments of Israel and Italy, in which Israel bought 30 pilot training planes for the Israel air force, has been completed. Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) has now delivered a second early warning plane under the reciprocal procurement deal with the Italian Ministry of Defense.
The first early warning plane was delivered to the Italians a year ago. Six months ago, the Opsat 3000 surveillance satellite developed by IAI for the Italian Ministry of Defense was launched into outer space from French Guiana. The volume of reciprocal procurement from IAI in exchange for the training planes deal was over NIS 4 billion. The purchase of M-346 training aircraft produced by Leonardo was estimated at $1 billion.
In Israel, the Leonardo plane is called the Lavie. The maintenance system for these planes is managed by the Tur company, which is a joint company of IAI and Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT).
The early warning planes supplied to Italy were built on the platform of the Gulfstream executive jets equipped with the Conformal Airborne Early Warning and Control (CAEW) System developed by IAI subsidiary Elta Systems. These systems have been in operation use by the Israel air force for 12 years, but the version delivered to the Italian air force includes upgraded radar capabilities, as well as a unique communications system developed by Elta and Italian company Leonardo.
IAI said today that the intelligence systems installed in Israel on the Italian warning planes were the most advanced in the world, and could provide the user with an aerial and naval picture of targets at every height, and in all weather conditions. These systems can detect, identify, and monitor targets at long ranges and systems of sensors that identify threats aimed at the aircraft.
The deal also includes support systems, in addition to a ground satellite communications station and a training system that provides realistic surroundings for training pilots to operate the early warning planes.
IAI CEO Joseph Weiss today said that completion of the deal constituted a tightening of relations between Israel, Italy, and the European defense industry. Israel Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT) head Brigadier General (res.) Daniel Gold also welcomed the completion of the defense deal between the two countries, saying, "The system reflects the deep, fruitful collaboration between the Italian and Israeli ministries of defense. It's both sides understanding of the needs and challenges that stand before the other."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 21, 2018
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