Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Defense
The ORON stealth intelligence aircraft, August 27, 2023

Israel’s new ORON spy plane has moved to the test flight phase, the Defense Ministry announced Sunday. Senior defense establishment officials welcomed the announcement at a ceremony held to mark the milestone.

ORON has a flight range of more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and can reach operational altitudes of 40,000 to 50,000 feet within 25 minutes.


The plane gathers intelligence through hundreds of onboard sensors – managed by dozens of on-board computers — resulting in amounts of intelligence that are more than ten times greater than that of a strategic UAV. Equipped with advanced cameras, large-scale sensors, listening capabilities, and innovative AI technologies and algorithms for processing vast amounts of data within minutes, the ORON is the most advanced aircraft of its kind.

The Gulfstream G550 business aircraft arrived at Nevatim Air Base in April 2021, sans its mission systems which were next to be installed. Now those systems are in place, and the ORON – the world’s most advanced aircraft of its kind — has begun its test flights, conducted by the Israeli Air Force and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

“Equipped with revolutionary sensors and C4I systems, the ORON will provide the IDF with unprecedented intelligence capabilities across expansive terrain, enabling real-time monitoring of ground movements under diverse weather and visibility conditions,” the Defense Ministry said.

“ORON is a joint multi-domain, multi-sensor solution which will provide the IDF with game-changing capabilities to counter threats far and near,” said the head of the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development (DDR&D) Missionized Aircraft Branch, Lt. Col. Yoed.

“The unique capabilities of the ORON ISR System include the ability to accurately track multiple targets across a wide area of coverage, in all weather and visibility conditions, with high precision over great distances and in real time, enabling a decisive and timely response to all threats.”

The aircraft was jointly developed by the Israel Ministry of Defense and the IAI’s ELTA Group together with the Israeli Air Force, Intelligence Corps, and Navy. It will be operated by the Israeli Air Force’s “Nachshon” 122nd squadron.

“There is no better expression of our strategic strength and commitment than integrating the outstanding capabilities of the ORON in full synergy with the SHAVIT and EITAM in the 122nd Squadron, all fruits of our work,” added Gideon Landa, General Manager of ELTA Airborne Systems. “This is a significant and exciting moment for us as members of the defense industry and as citizens of the state of Israel.”

The aircraft was presented to the world this past June at the Paris Air Show, even before it became operational. The cost of the ORON stealth plane was estimated to be in the billions of dollars.


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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.