Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) and US manufacturer General Atomics are competing head-to-head in a €230 million Belgian army unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) tender.
IAI is offering its flagship UAV, the Heron TP (Eitan), which can fly long distances and carry special payloads weighing over one ton. The Israel Air Force uses the Heron TP on regular missions.
General Atomics is offering its MQ-9 Reaper UAV, its replacement for the Predator UAV used by the US Air Force for many years, including for targeted killing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
IAI declined to comment on the Belgian tender. Nevertheless, IAI sources believe that the Belgian army plans to procure four UAVs and accompanying systems when the tender is decided. The Belgian army procured Hunter B UAVs from IAI in the late 1990s, and is still using them.
The competition between IAI and General Atomics in Belgium is likely to be fierce, given the intense competition a year ago between the companies for the sale of UAVs to Germany in a tender worth hundreds of millions of euros. After the German Ministry of Defense selected IAI's UAVs, General Atomics appealed the decision and instituted legal proceedings in Germany in an attempt to overturn it, while alleging that the competitive procedure was improper. The German Supreme Court dismissed the appeal in the middle of last year.
Despite the German court's ruling, the deal has been stalled for other reasons - political pressure by members of the German Social Democratic Party, a partner in the government coalition, who have alleged that the IAI's UAVs are likely to be used for air attacks and assassinations.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 18, 2018
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