Israel delivers surveillance jet to Italy to complete trade deal

It provides aerial and maritime situational awareness at all altitudes, over any terrain and in any weather condition and can also operate at long range with extended flight time.

January 22, 2018 08:31
2 minute read.
A CAEW-BASED Gulfstream surveillance jet made by Israel Aircraft Industries.

A CAEW-BASED Gulfstream surveillance jet made by Israel Aircraft Industries like the one shown was delivered to Italy.. (photo credit: YAAKOV SAAR/DEFENSE MINISTRY)


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Israel delivered a second advanced reconnaissance jet to the Italian Air Force on Sunday, completing a reciprocal trade deal signed in 2012.

The NIS 4 billion deal saw the Israel Air Force acquire 30 Leonardo M-346 Lavi jets to train its next generation of pilots. Italy purchased an equivalent value of Israeli aerospace technology, including satellites and the two G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning and Control (CAEW) surveillance planes.

“The system reflects the deep and fruitful cooperation between the Italian and Israeli defense ministries, including the understanding on each side of the needs and challenges facing the other,” said Dr. Danny Gold, head of the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.

Based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet, the CAEW aircraft is an early-warning and air-control system developed by Israel Aircraft Industry’s Elta division. It provides aerial and maritime situational awareness at all altitudes, over any terrain and in any weather condition and can also operate at long range with extended flight time.

The aircraft has four-dimensional radar with Active Electronically Scanned Array technology providing 360-degree detection, identification and tracking of airborne and surface targets. According to IAI, the tracking of a target is achieved in two to four seconds, and verification beams sent at specific, individual, newly detected targets eliminate false alarms.

The aircraft is also outfitted with an electronic information system to detect targets over a wide range of frequencies, accurately measuring the electronic parameters of each beam and platform on which it operates. It also has a central computer system that presents a full aerial and marine picture by combining the information from the various sensors on the jet.

The jet is also fitted with a 360-degree, self-protection system that includes active and passive sensors and countermeasures against incoming missiles.

Elta also provides ground support, including a ground station for satellite communication, a mission support system to analyze data and an operator training system.

“We are proud to have completed our part in this state-of-the-art deal by delivering one of IAI’s most advanced technological products to the Italian Ministry of Defense, while fully complying with the complex technical and engineering specifications in a short period of time,” IAI President and CEO Yossi Weiss said.

“The second CAEW warning plane joins other IAI systems that are actively involved in Italy’s strategic intelligence system, including the OPTSAT 3000 advanced observation satellite that was launched last summer,” he said. “This cooperation is part of the strengthening of relations with Italy and the European defense industry, which we hope to continue and deepen.”

The CAEW system has been operational for 12 years in the IAF; the version supplied to Italy includes advanced radar with improved performance and a NATO-compatible communications system developed jointly by Elta and Leonardo, Italy’s largest defense company, which makes the Lavi jet trainer.

The first of the two aircraft, which was delivered to Italy last year, is said to have already conducted several joint exercises with the NATO Air Force.

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