Photo Credit: IAI
Special mission aircraft produced by Israel Aerospace Industries. (illustrative)

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a contract valued at more than $200 million to provide Special Mission Aircraft to a NATO country in Europe, the defense contractor announced this weekend.


The Special Mission Aircraft will be developed by IAI’s Group and subsidiary ELTA Systems Ltd., home to Israel’s radar and intelligence technology and considered a global leader in the field.

IAI’s special mission aircraft are active in Israel and in many countries around the world, and provide an important strategic edge.

IAI is one of the few countries in the world that develops such technologies. The company’s breakthrough in the field of special mission aircraft was made possible due to miniaturized sensor technologies alongside developing algorithms and software applications based on Artificial Intelligence (AI & ML). The highly advanced intelligence systems integrated on business jets as based on these systems.

Prior to this, most special mission aircraft utilized large cargo or commercial aircraft.

Boaz Levy, IAI’s President and CEO, said in a statement, “Time and time again, IAI continues to prove its ground-breaking capabilities, which have high global demand and worldwide appreciation. This contract, at the center 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.”

“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,” added Yoav Tourgeman, IAI VP and ELTA CEO.

“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 (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft is fitted with a dual band AESA radar providing complete uncompromised 360° azimuthal coverage and is an example of a leading in the class 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 world leader combat proven ELM-2022 radar family, serving in many countries on all continents.
  • SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) 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 the most advanced SIGINT aircraft to the IDF on business jet platforms and supplied airborne SIGINT systems to many Special Mission Aircraft worldwide.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.