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    Venµs is a joint flagship project of the Israeli and French Space Agencies. The satellite was built at IAI's Space Division in collaboration with Elbit, which developed the telescope and Rafael, which developed the propulsion system

    Having completed its assembly, Israel parted from Venµs, the first Israeli-made satellite created for environmental research purposes. Within the next few days, the satellite will go on its way to the launcher located in French Guiana.

    At an official ceremony held on May 25 at Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) Space Division, IAI handed over the Venµs satellite to the Israeli Space Agency in the Ministry of Science and its partner, the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES). The satellite will now be merged with Arianespace launcher and prepare for the launch that will take place this summer in French Guiana.

    Israel's Minister of Science and Technology, Ofir Akunis, said at the ceremony: "Venµs is the feather in the cap of Israel's space industry. I am extremely proud that the first research satellite initiated by the Israeli government and the Ministry of Science will be launched shortly. As the Minister of Science, I regard it as a pivotal goal to encourage the younger generation to become thought-provoking scientists and use their creativity for the good of the environment and for advancing innovation. The collaboration with France reiterates the immense appreciation with which Israeli technology is received all over the world."

    Joseph Weiss, IAI's President and CEO, commented, "We are excited to deliver Venµs Research Satellite to the Israeli and French space agencies. The best satellite and space engineers of the Israeli industry participated in this unique flagship project, which marks yet another technological feat for IAI in particular and Israel's industry in general. The collaboration with France in exploring space has provided us with an opportunity to expand the horizons of our international collaborations with new content worlds. I believe this project forms a solid foundation for continued new cooperation."

    Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES: “With the COP21 and COP22 having highlighted the key role of satellites in studying and preserving our climate, I am delighted to see our world-class space engineers working together to develop Venµs, a mission that will help the international community’s efforts to curb climate change, and to see that our cooperation is set to continue, notably on the MEMS gyroscopes.”

    Venµs is a joint flagship project of Israel's Space Agency in the Ministry of Science and the French Space Agency. The satellite has been built over the past few years at IAI's Space Division in collaboration with Elbit, which developed the telescope and Rafael, which developed the propulsion system. The satellite will be used to observe fields and lands from space for environmental research, monitoring the condition of the soil, vegetation, forestation, agriculture, water sources quality and more. Venµs is equipped with a special camera capable of capturing details on earth in 12 wave-lengths, including details which are not visible to human eye. The Satellite will photograph huge spaces, providing researches with dozens of daily images, each one covering approx. 700 square meters. Once every two days, the Satellite will generate photos of the entire area of Israel to be used by researchers. The Satellite will weigh 265 kg at the time of the launch and will enter a sun-synchronous orbit 720 km high within two days from the launch.

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    An exclusive interview with Opher Doron, GM of IAI's Space Division, and David Polack, CEO of Spacecom, about the future plans for communication satellite activity in Israel

    Vacuum chamber at an IAI plant (Photo credit: IAI)

    Everyone involved in and associated with the Israeli space industry hopes that the events of 2016 will convince the government to finally include in the agenda the space and communication satellite industry and recognize these activities as essential to maintaining the communication and contacts between Israel and the world. Israel must not – so they emphasize – depend exclusively on a pair of underwater cables linking it physically with the world. The essential channel is located high up in outer space.

    The month of September 2016 came to be known as the "Black September" of the space industry among the members of the Israeli space community. In early September 2016, the communication satellite Amos-6 exploded during preparations for the scheduled launch where it was located, at Cape Canaveral in Florida, thereby breaking the hearts of the many scientists and engineers who had labored for four years, preparing it for its intended launch. The launching contractor, the SpaceX Company, was in the process of preparing to launch the Amos-6 satellite into space. According to the plans, this satellite should have provided Internet, TV and cellular communication services to Africa, the Middle East and Europe over a period of 15 years, using 15 transponders, a hybrid propulsion system and the ground tracking station of IAI, the satellite manufacturer. All of that exploded into a flaming total loss within seconds. The predecessor of the Amos-6, the Amos-5 satellite, manufactured by a Russian company, had been launched from Kazakhstan in December 2011, but subsequently communication with the satellite was cut off and its services ceased to exist.

    The Israel Ministry of Science, Technology & Space, the Prime Minister's Office and the National Security Council are currently preparing a proposal to be submitted to the Israeli government, which is to include a state-government recognition of the national need in the allocation of budgets for the development and manufacture of communication satellites in Israel. The proposal, to be deliberated by the government, is based on a report completed a few months ago by the members of a committee headed by Peretz Vazan, the Director General of the Ministry of Science, Technology & Space. "The report has been endorsed by the Minister of Science, Technology & Space and by the representatives of other government ministries, and the committee recognizes the national need for Israeli communication satellite activity. Now it is up to the government to institutionalize this activity, to define it as a national need and to have it operated by Israeli companies, as the country needs the survivability of its international communication layout. Obviously, this recognition has budget-related implications. The amounts are not overly excessive – about US$ 100 million per year, of which US$ 70 million are to be allocated as support for R&D by the industries and the rest is to be allocated to the Israel Space Agency, for promoting this activity in industry and academia."

    The aforementioned report recognizes the fact that the space industry is currently facing a severe crisis that threatens the national space program. It asserts that the state must invest in a new communication satellite and recommends the addition of US$ 120 million per year to the budget of the Israel Space Agency. The committee further points to the need for a setup of four communication satellites operating simultaneously.

    Waiting on the Government

    The current status of the Israeli communication satellites is as follows: the satellite Amos-2 is in operation but is scheduled to complete its service life soon, while the satellites Amos-3 and Amos-4 are "operating and doing very well in space," as Opher Doron, GM of IAI's Space Division, has stated. "This is what we have at this point – two communication satellites, while the services demanded are numerous and evolving – communication, TV, telephone communication, Internet, cellular communication – and Israel is linked to the world through very few optical fibers under the sea, without which the country will have no communication with the world. IAI's Space Division is one of less than ten manufacturers of communication satellites worldwide, and that is definitely something to be proud of. Governments around the world invest substantial funds in the development of this activity. The European Space Agency has a budget of billions of Euro per year. It should be noted that the Government of Israel is also a major client of communication satellite services. The communication satellites carry government transponders. Accordingly, it is about time, after 20 years of continuous development by this industry, for the government to decide if it is interested in an Israeli communication satellite activity."

    So, judging by the report of the Israel Space Agency, the government is indeed interested and recognizes the national need, and the only thing left for it to do is announce it publicly and provide the budgets.

    At this interim stage, until an explicit government decision is made, IAI's Space Division is not engaged in the manufacture of a communication satellite, but GM Opher Doron says that "We are currently discussing with the Spacecom Company the manufacture of the Amos-8, a satellite that will differ from the Amos-6 with regard to the scope of services. We are definitely busy designing the next satellite, assuming the government will make a decision. If it does not, we will dissolve the team and they will be diverted to other projects."

    However, the Spacecom Company, which purchases the satellites from IAI and is responsible for launching them and for selling the services they provide, could not wait pursuant to the loss of the Amos-6 satellite. David Polack, Spacecom's CEO: "Amos-5 had left us with a whimper. Amos-6 left us with a bang. Our share plummeted. We had to respond promptly as space activity is regulated and there are rules: if you failed to launch a satellite, after a certain period you will lose your slot – your turn in space. IAI was unable to manufacture another satellite within a short period of time, so we promptly ordered a communication satellite from Boeing Satellite Systems International. The satellite we ordered will be the state-of-the-art. It will be designated Amos-17 and after having been launched into space (in a few years) it will replace the Amos-5. Amos-17 will be a more advanced satellite. It is named after the point in space where it will be positioned above the equator – W17. For the time being, we had to look after our clients' interests, so we transferred the communication services of our clients to existing satellites that are already positioned in space and operating. Our communication satellites provide an extensive range of services: TV, wideband Internet, data communication services and support for cellular communication. This is a relatively new item in satellite communication in an era where very soon, every monkey in the jungle will be holding a cellular phone."

    With communication satellites, the term used is "positioning in space" owing to the manner in which they are launched. All of the Israeli communication satellites, manufactured by IAI and owned by Spacecom, were launched overseas – either from Russia or from equatorial French Guiana. The launching missiles elevate the communication satellites to an altitude of about 35,000 kilometers and "position" them at a point where they orbit at a speed that matches the rotation of the Earth, so the satellites appear to be "suspended" at the same point. A communication satellite in a geostationary equatorial orbit (GEO) completes one cycle around the Earth every 24 hours. This special mode of operation is suitable for enabling the satellite to maintain communication with the receiving antennae on planet Earth. In fact, the satellite is a transceiver or a relaying unit that picks up transmissions from the ground, amplifies them and sends them back to clients on planet Earth.

    Space Espionage

    Another satellite activity involves surveillance satellites, also manufactured by IAI's Space Division, where they prefer the title "Surveillance Satellites" over the one used by foreign sources around the world – espionage or intelligence satellites. These Israeli satellites are regarded as capable of reaching any location, photographing and collecting intelligence on every possible front, in neighboring and remote countries. That is the Ofek satellite project.

    Various websites around the world reported that between September 19, 1988 and September 13, 2016, Israel launched 11 Ofek spy satellites into space. Unlike the communication satellites, all of the Ofek satellites were launched from Israel, using Israeli launch vehicles (Shavit missiles). A surveillance satellite climbs to an altitude of a few hundreds of kilometers only and orbits around the Earth at a high speed. It weighs a few hundred kilograms, compared to a communication satellite that weighs tons. The Israeli Ofek satellites are the only satellites in the world launched westward, in the opposite direction of the Earth's rotation, in order to avoid launching in the direction of Muslim-Arab countries. The presence of multiple surveillance satellites in space makes it possible to photograph/monitor a target continuously.

    Contrary to the civilian communication satellites, the information regarding surveillance satellites and their activity in space is confidential. The clients are IMOD and its various extensions and the various branches of the IDF. Opher Doron, GM of IAI's Space Division, will only say this: "In 1980, the government decided that Israel should achieve independence in the field of surveillance satellite development, and since then we have manufactured almost all satellite systems in Israel. Only very few countries, worldwide, manufacture such satellites, and people are coming here to learn from us. Thus far, 11 surveillance satellites have been launched, but that does not mean that we have 11 satellites in space. The last one launched was the Ofek-11. It was a complicated and difficult birth launching it into space, but it has recovered and now behaves nicely – transmitting astonishing images and demonstrating breathtaking performance. In this field, we are definitely at the world's top echelon, and we have every reason to be proud. We are currently building several other optical and Radar surveillance satellites."

    As a result of the loss of the Amos-5 and Amos-6 satellites, IAI's Space Division currently does not have any orders for a new satellite, but the plant, as the GM says, "Has plenty of work" in the form of several interesting and intriguing projects.

    This year, the civilian surveillance and research satellite Venus will be launched for a joint project of the Israeli and French space agencies. This satellite will monitor agriculture and the environment, detect changes in flora and spot water shortages. The Venus satellite has a propulsion system by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, it weighs 300 kg and can orbit low to produce high-resolution images. The same vehicle intended to launch the Venus satellite will be used this summer to launch the Italian optical surveillance satellite OpSat-3000. This satellite had been ordered by the Italian government. This will place in service two satellites in a single launch. Additionally, The Eros-C is an optical surveillance satellite built for the ImageSat Company.

    Another project is Space-IL, an initiative to launch a spacecraft into space. The Google Company offers a prize of US$ 10 million to be awarded to the party succeeding in reaching the moon, landing, transmitting video clips and advancing 500 meters on the surface of the moon. Several Israeli aficionados decided to respond to the challenge. IAI's Space Division builds the spacecraft and the project has an important educational aspect owing to the involvement of high-school students interested in and learning subjects associated with aviation and space. The spacecraft will weigh half a ton and is to be launched from the USA.

    With regard to another aspect, IAI's Space Division focuses on the category of small satellites – nanosatellites and microsatellites weighing dozens of kilograms or less. These satellites are fitted with latest-generation avionics, owing to the miniaturization and smaller dimensions. The new space avionics – the satellite's computers, guidance, steering and control systems – contain a unique space chip developed in Israel, which is the core of the avionics suit that makes it possible to command the satellite. This activity includes the BGUSAT satellite of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Samson satellites of the Technion in Haifa. Samson is a project involving the simultaneous launching of three satellites that are to form an emitter-locating formation, used mainly to locate marine distress emitters that transmit distress signals at sea. IAI's Elta Division is developing the payload and the Space Division is developing the avionics and the satellite itself.


    The complete interview can be found in issue 37 of Israel Defense magazine. To subscribe, click here.

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    The EHUD Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) Systems will be used by Israeli Air Force for training between combat aircraft and the Lavi jet trainers

    The EHUD System (Photo: IAI)

    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide the EHUD air combat maneuvering instrumentation (ACMI) system to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to be used by the Corps' training between combat aircraft and the Lavi jet trainers. The IAF has ordered the ACMI systems from IAI's MALAM Division. The EHUD will be mounted on the IAF's various combat aircraft as part of the training schedule until the installation of fixed systems. In this way, the 4th generation combat aircraft will be able to undertake combat scenarios with the Lavi, which are already equipped with the EHUD communication system.

    The use of the EHUD opens the door for shared live drills and debriefing with the Lavi airplanes based on the EHUD network, as is already carried out by other countries, such as Italy. This, thanks to IAI's capacity to perform LVC (Live, Virtual, Constructive) drills with the newest and most advanced generation of EHUD.

    In addition to this application, IAI is providing on-demand training services, assigning training experts to run and oversee the debriefing systems in a range of the air force activities.

    Jacob Galifat, General Manager of the IAI/MALAM Division, Missiles & Space Group, said, "MALAM provides training services to the IAF and supports multinational drills to allow our clients to experience the best, most modern training methods and make the most of every training sortie efficiently and accurately. Our technologies leverage the new, state-of-the-art capabilities of the EHUD and allow us to provide network support for LVC formats. This is a natural evolution of the long-standing EHUD system, which is deployed extensively across the globe."

    To date, over 1,000 air combat maneuvering instrumentation systems were delivered by IAI as well as hundreds of debriefing systems. EHUD is also the standard ACMI of NATO nations.

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    IMOD recently sent a letter to the US Department of Defense to complete the purchase of 17 F-35 aircraft

    Israel's Ministry of Defense recently sent a letter to the US Department of Defense to complete the purchase of 17 F-35 jets, Israel's Walla News reported on Thursday. Each plane costs approximately US$100 million. The acquisition was first announced in November 2016, and brings the total number of F-35s purchased by Israel to 50.

    Israel is the only country in the Middle East to have the jet, which was not included in the recent arms deal signed between the US and Saudi Arabia.

    The Israeli version of the F-35, the "Adir", had its first test flight at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas in July 2016. Five of the planes are currently in operation out of southern Israel's Nevatim air base, with two more due to arrive in August, a further two in September, and nine additional planes in 2018.

    Israel is also expected to receive a test plane for experimenting with new technologies.


    [Source: Defense World]


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    IAF Chief called for an investigation into the cause of the damage and ordered all the air force’s helicopters to remain grounded until that examination is complete

    Apache helicopters of the Israeli and Hellenic Air Forces fly together in a joint aerial exercise (Photo: IDF)

    The Israeli Air Force grounded its fleet of Apache attack helicopters on Tuesday after a crack was found in the posterior rotor blade of one of the aircraft during a routine check-up earlier in the day, a senior IDF officer said.

    IAF Commandant, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel called for an investigation into the cause of the damage to the blade to the back-rotor and ordered all the air force’s helicopters to remain on the ground until that examination is complete, the official said.

    Israel has two squadrons of Apaches, which fly out of the Ramon Air Base in the Negev desert.

    "The plan is to conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to make a decision on how to proceed with the [Apache] system," the officer said.


    [Source: The Times of Israel]


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    "This interceptor incorporates some unique technologies that are not available anywhere else in the world." An exclusive interview with Brig. Gen. (res.) Pini Yungman, Director of the David's Sling Program at Rafael, about the development process and the system's performance

    The David's Sling system in action (Photo: Rafael)

    An international, three-pointed, highly important defense transaction is currently being concocted, fairly quietly, between three countries: Israel, the USA and Poland.

    The State of Israel has recently deployed the missile defense system designated David's Sling, and the first battalion of battery operators already maintains an operational duty roster. Poland, a country that has been living for the past one hundred years, at least, under a constant fear of Russia, its easterly neighbor, has been protecting itself using the Patriot missile system by Raytheon of the USA.

    Raytheon is Rafael's close partner in the development and production of the interceptor of the David's Sling system – Stunner, one of the world's most advanced interceptors in its class. Apparently, this interceptor suits not just the David's Sling system by Rafael, but also Raytheon's Patriot system, and the Stunner may be integrated smartly and intelligently into the Patriot system. The aforementioned transaction focuses on the development of the next generation Patriot system that will utilize a new interceptor – the Stunner missile of the David's Sling system. This is precisely the product Poland would like to purchase.

    The Poles are convinced that the Patriot system and the Stunner interceptor will fit in perfectly into Poland's air-defense system. When the development process has been completed, Poland will be the first client of this new product, and the people at Rafael are encouraged by this transaction which, in their opinion, would open major doors around the world for the benefit of both industries, Rafael of Israel and Raytheon of the USA. Raytheon has designated the Patriot system utilizing the Stunner interceptor Sky Interceptor.

    So, the David's Sling system scored a dual accomplishment shortly after development had been completed: it has become a part of the defenses of the State of Israel, and an important client is already waiting to purchase a primary element of this system.

    IMOD's Defense Research and Development Directorate (DDR&D, also known as MAFAT), one of the parties that had specified the operational need for the David's Sling system and a major client, had used the name Magic Wand initially. When the tender eventually awarded to Rafael had been issued, they used the name David's Sling. Now, when the system has become operational, the industries, IMOD and the IAF – the system operator – all decided to adopt the name David's Sling.

    The David's Sling system was officially delivered to the IAF just before the end of last year. The first generation of officers, technicians and operator-troopers was trained using state-of-the-art simulators and with Rafael's assistance. On April 2, 2017, the system was declared to be operational at a festive ceremony held at an IAF base.

    The basic concept of the David's Sling system is being integrated as one of the elements of the national multiple-tier missile defense layout. The elements making up this layout are the still nonexistent mortar bomb defense system, the Iron Dome system, the David's Sling system and the various models of the Arrow missile. The operational integration of all of these elements should effectively protect the State of Israel against any threat, near or far, from mortar bombs to ballistic missiles. The Iron Dome system will remain the backbone of this national defense layout in terms of coverage and ranges. The tier above the one handled by the Iron Dome system will be handled by the David's Sling system which would deal with maneuvering targets, high-precision cruise missiles and in the future – the Russian-made Yakhont missiles as well as fighter aircraft. The uppermost tier is addressed by the Arrow missiles – intended to handle the long-range ballistic missile threats.

    The "Homa" administration at the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) was in charge of specifying the operational requirements for the system. During the initial stage of the competition, Rafael was awarded the development of the launching system, and subsequently they were awarded the development of the entire system. The development effort had started at Rafael's Missile Division, located in the Segev area of the Upper Galilee. The project started with two engineers, but over the years Project David's Sling had a workforce of some 2,000 employees in Israel and overseas.

    Brig. Gen. (res.) Pini Yungman, Director of the David's Sling program and formerly a senior commander with the IDF anti-aircraft and air-defense forces: "It was determined that Rafael would serve as the design authority for the system and as the owner of the system's intellectual property. All of our work had been based on prior knowledge. We relied primarily on knowledge Rafael had gained in the development of air-to-air missiles. The client had presented basic requirements relating to various threats, but from the very first stages we decided to look further ahead, to future threats that might emerge within the atmospheric medium, from surface-to-surface missiles to sizable missiles expected to arrive from the top layers of the atmosphere. This was the policy we had set for ourselves for the development of David's Sling – adhere to the requirements of the client, the Homa administration, but at the same time refer to future capabilities.

    "I was working with two engineers and drawing on the technological and military background gained in the positions I had served in and the subjects I had dealt with in the IDF. We started drafting the development processes and said to ourselves: the enemy launches a ballistic missile. We must detect it as soon as possible and at the greatest possible distance and we must determine whether it is actually a threat and where it is heading. Conclusion: we need sensors for the purpose of classifying the threats. We further asked ourselves: what do we want the interceptor to do? The answer was – we want it to intercept all of the various types of threats – and there are many of those. We want the interceptor to be fired by the system in time and follow a correct trajectory to the interception point, and to be able to deal with the entire range of threats. Accordingly, the interceptor had to possess speed and maneuverability. Finally, the primary and most basic demand was that the interceptor should be able to acquire the target and destroy it. It was clear to us that the system's Radar, as well as the sensors, must be agile and fast and that the system should be able to cope with multiple targets simultaneously.

    Israeli-American Cooperation

    "We specified the system architecture and its elements: sensors, a communication layout, a launching layout, command and control and – naturally – the interceptor. By 2006 we were already able to establish the development organization and specify the various projects and the needs regarding personnel, laboratories, subcontractors and contracts in Israel and overseas. The project consisted of groups – a servo group, a motor group and other groups. Management was strict and tight with the responsibility for it shared by the Homa administration, IMOD's DDR&D and the Americans – the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Raytheon USA were our partners from the outset, and to this day they are responsible for the manufacture of parts of the interceptor, the launcher and the missile canisters."

    The project engineers at Rafael have high praise for their cooperation with the Americans: "They served as an effective control element, conducted progress surveys, strictly observed our activities and we had to adapt to working according to American methods. It was a cooperative effort possessing work and management culture characteristics that are different from what we have in Israel. We had to work in two languages, comply with strict US standards, and everything required close cooperation and maximum precision – typical characteristics called for in the development of complex defense weapon and air/space systems."

    David's Sling is a worldwide project. In Israel, Rafael is the project leader along with 25 other industries. Overseas, the project leader is US giant Raytheon. In Israel, IAI/ELTA developed the Radar for the David's Sling system, Elisra/Elbit Systems developed the command and control systems and many other industries participated in the project. In the years 2009-2010, laboratories were built for each component and subsystem, along with bunkers and production lines, rooms for hot and cold integration and clean rooms, and specialized testing equipment was developed for the various David's Sling assemblies.

    An official document issued by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems describes the David's Sling system as an effective defense solution against long-range artillery rockets (LRAR), short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM), cruise missiles (CM) and traditional air defense threats, a system that provides protection for the homeland as well as for forward deployed forces. The system consists of a battle management center, an Interceptor array, a multi-mission Radar for detecting and tracking and weapon control systems (WCS). The architecture of David's Sling is modular and enables integration with other defense system, thereby providing a comprehensive, extended protective envelope. The interceptor system includes four missile firing units, with 12 Stunner interceptors in each unit.

    Exclusive Israeli Technology

    The interceptor is the heart of the system and the element that destroys the threat – the enemy target. Project leader Pini Yungman: "I would not be exaggerating at all if I said that this interceptor incorporates some unique technologies that are not available anywhere else in the world, as well as the latest assemblies. The Stunner interceptor is regarded as a two-stage, tri-pulse (a three-pulse motor) interceptor and it possesses extremely high maneuverability. The interceptor incorporates a dual (electro-optical and electromagnetic) seeker head. It possesses capabilities that are superior several times over to those of its US competitor, the latest PAC-3 Patriot interceptor."

    The people at Rafael also stress the fact that the seeker head of the Stunner interceptor detects and tracks threats under all weather conditions and hits the target very accurately using the aimpoint selection method to actually 'kill' the target. The interceptor actually hits the target to achieve a lethal hard-kill effect. The cost of each interceptor is estimated at about one million US Dollars, and according to the project team at Rafael, it is a reasonable cost compared to the alternatives and considering the performance it offers.

    The David's Sling system has undergone an extensive series of five trials before it was declared operational. In November 2012, Stage A of the development process was completed and an interception test was conducted. In November 2013, a second successful trial was conducted in the context of which the Radar, battle management center, interceptor and launcher were tested. In March 2015 – a third full trial of the system was conducted and a 'typical threat' was successfully intercepted. In December 2015, a fourth comprehensive system trial was conducted and delivery to the IAF was initiated. On January 25, 2015, the fifth, final and conclusive trial of the David's Sling system was conducted.

    Operational Deployment

    The final trial, conducted at the Plamachim airbase, was attended by the Director of the US Missile Defense Agency, Vice Admiral James D. Syring, who stated: "We are determined to fulfill our commitment to support the development of Israel's missile defense system." IMOD's DDR&D and the Homa administration reported that during the trial, threat-simulating targets had been launched and were successfully intercepted by the interceptor. The multi-mission Radar (MMR) system by IAI/ELTA identified the threat immediately following the launch and conveyed the information to the battle management center (BMC) by Elisra/Elbit Systems. The interceptors were launched according to the plan, executed all of their flight stages and intercepted the target as planned. The David's Sling system reflects a joint Israeli-American project involving the development of a defense system against short-range ballistic missiles and large-caliber rockets, stated the conclusion of the final trial before the operational deployment. In this fifth and final trial, the Stunner interceptor of the David's Sling system was launched against a Rafael Sparrow missile – a target-simulating missile.

    The David's Sling system may be operated fully autonomously or semi-autonomously. How does that work? The system 'knows', through the Radar, that a threat is approaching. It produces an interception plan according to the threats and 'informs' the operators of the details of that interception plan. The operator can stop the launching and interception process or allow the system to operate autonomously until the threat has been eliminated. Target acquisition is accomplished dozens of kilometers before the actual impact. The operator's role is to supervise the activity and ensure there are no safety issues, but the human operator does not interfere with the system's computation plan. It should be noted that all of these processes are executed within extremely short periods of time, measurable by microseconds (1 microsecond = one millionth of a second).

    The deployment of the David's Sling layout is radically different from that of the Iron Dome system. You will not find David's Sling batteries deployed close to the major cities, as Israeli civilians were able to encounter Iron Dome batteries close to their settlements in the past. The David's Sling layout has a single, nation-wide command and control center, located somewhere in the central region of Israel. Numerous sensors are deployed at different sites around the country, along with – naturally – the communication system. In this case, deployment is centralized but planned very precisely according to reference scenarios. The system is not dependent on any particular geographic region. It is not regional, but rather nation-wide. The effectiveness and range of the interceptors are so substantial that the physical location of the launchers becomes insignificant and there is no need to relocate interceptor batteries from one deployment site to another, from the northern region to the southern region and vice versa. The layout provides a comprehensive solution – a complete protective envelope for the entire country.

    Tal Inbar, Head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies: "We should take into account future threats in the shape of high-precision missiles. The lower threat tier – mortar bombs – has not been provided with an effective solution yet. Efforts are currently under way toward that end. The Iron Dome system proved itself as a highly effective system. The primary function of the David's Sling system is to intercept high-precision enemy missiles, like the Fateh-110 missile and its derivatives. In the future, the Yakhont missile may emerge as a threat. The David's Sling system is highly advanced and provides an effective solution for a wide range of cruise missiles and long-range aircraft. It provides an effective solution and coverage for an expansive area. The David's Sling system was designed to handle maneuvering targets and high-precision cruise missiles." Inbar believes the current price of the interceptor (about one million US Dollars) is very steep and that efforts should be made to reduce its cost. He considers the cooperative alliance with Raytheon as a major advantage: "The development and production cooperation between Israeli defense industries and an American giant like Raytheon is of strategic importance, as is the fact that Israel has joined the air defense program of the USA."

    The IAF troopers who currently operate the David's Sling layout were trained over a period of eighteen months. Their training included the use of simulators, through which they can learn, practice and drill all of the interception procedures. The battalion is already operational and the battalion commander is Lt. Col. Kobi Regev. The operational system is deployed at an IAF base in central Israel and the battalion's troopers are deployed at various sites. Battalion Commander Regev told us that all of his troopers came to the unit after having gained operational experience and background and that they all share a healthy dose of esprit de corps. The operators of David's Sling are "mission ready." 


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    737-700 during conversion at IAI (Photo: IAI)

    The Bedek Division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is pushing to expand its share of the passenger-to-freighter conversion market with a new supplemental type certificate (STC) for Boeing’s 737-700 narrowbody expected to be announced in June. Meanwhile, it is in the middle of the design and development project for the larger -800 model and hopes to secure the STC for that modification in the first quarter of 2018.

    According to IAI's EVP and Bedek Division Head Yosi Melamed, the freighter conversion for the larger 767-300 aircraft continues to be the bedrock of the company’s business model. He told AIN that all available slots for this modification are booked through the end of 2017, and Bedek now is taking bookings for 2018. It is in the process of expanding its engineering capacity by opening a new jointly owned facility in Mexico with local carrier Mexicana, and this should receive its first aircraft by July.

    According to Melamed, the entry into airline service of the new 737 Max narrowbody, which started with first deliveries in May, will prompt airlines to release passenger-carrying -700s and -800s onto the market for freighter conversions. "Right now, the price of the -800 is still too high [for conversion customers] but that will change and the -300 and -400 classic models will become less attractive," he predicted.

    Once the -700 and -800 STCs are secured, Bedek intends to turn its attention to Airbus freighter platforms. It believes that the arrival of the rival A320neo family will prompt demand to convert the existing A320ceo aircraft. But Melamed is in no rush to move into this market segment as he believes that, for now, prices of these airframes are still too high to be attractive for these purposes.

    Meanwhile, the transition now happening in the narrowbody airliner sector is presenting opportunities for Bedek’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit. This is now at the early stages of positioning itself to start providing support for the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan and CFM International Leap turbofans that power the A320neo and the 737 Max families. Bedek has long provided support for the CFM56, PW4000 and V2500engines, with a focus on handling major overhauls for airlines and leasing companies.

    "One of our advantages is that we have the ability to refurbish engines at different stages of their lives," said Melamed. "But we’re also good at providing immediate, on-wing support just about anywhere within 12 to 24 hours. This is a very competitive, price sensitive market but we have a very high quality product, with almost zero failures and not many returns."

    Last year, Bedek opened a new MRO facility at Hubei in China through a joint venture with Lingyun (Yichang) Science and Technology Group Co. Ltd. The operation is focused on supporting airliners and offering various conversions and upgrades.


    [Source: AIN Online]

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    In recent months, the company has also sold several iSky-30HD and iSky-50HD systems to customers in North America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, for installation on Helicopters, Fixed Wing Aircraft (A/C) and other platforms

    CONTROP iSky-50HD Payload onboard an Israel Police Helicopter (Photo: CONTROP)

    CONTROP Precision Technologies – a company specializing in EO/IR surveillance, defense and homeland security solutions – is today announcing the sale of several iSky-20HD (formerly SHAPO-HD) and iSky-50HD (formerly DSP-HD) EO/IR payloads to the Israeli Police, to be installed on new helicopters and integrated with Churchill Navigation Mission Systems. CONTROP will display the iSky family of six multi-spectral, low-weight airborne payloads at the upcoming Paris Air Show.

    According to VP Marketing, Mr. Hagay Azani, "We are very proud that the iSky payloads were chosen for Israel Police helicopters. In addition, in recent months CONTROP has also sold several iSky-30HD and iSky-50HD systems to a variety of customers in North America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, for installation on Helicopters, Fixed Wing Aircraft (A/C) and other platforms."   

    CONTROP’s line of six medium and long-range aerial payloads (iSky-20, 20HD, 30, 30HD, 40 and 50HD) was developed for the challenging aerial environment and they provide solutions for most medium and long-range aerial surveillance platforms. Features include a continuous optical zoom lens in the day (or high definition-HD) and thermal imaging (SD/HD) cameras, gyro-stabilized gimbals and multi-sensor options including Eyesafe Laser Range Finder (ELRF) and/or Laser Pointer. The iSky systems can be installed on helicopters, fixed wing aircraft (A/C) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and may be integrated with the platforms’ systems. All of the iSky systems include real-time Image Enhancement Features, built-in INS, automatic target tracking and are successfully operated, fully integrated and deployed by Search and Rescue (SAR), Border Surveillance, Law Enforcement, Special Operations, Maritime Patrol and Force Protection Units. 

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    Israel Aerospace Industries is looking to sell Kfir fighters that were earmarked for Argentina to United States-based private contractors for use as 'Red Air' training platforms

    Speaking at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, Benjamin Cohen, President and General Manager IAI's LAHAV Division, told Jane's that the company is currently in discussions with at least two private contractors for 12 to 14 Kfirs that were rebuilt for an Argentinean deal that never materialized.

    "We are trying to find a new customer for the 12 to 14 aircraft that were planned for Argentina. We think a US 'aggressor' trainer would work – ATAC already flies them, and Draken [International] is an option also," he said.

    The planned sale of Kfirs to Argentina was first revealed in 2014, when comments made by CEO Joseph Weiss that IAI was preparing to announce a deal for the aircraft coincided with a visit by Jane's to the Tel Aviv production facility during which the Argentinean flag was seen alongside those of known Kfir operators, past and present. IAI declined to comment on Argentina as a customer at that time, and Cohen's statement is the first official confirmation that a deal was in the final stages of being finalized.

    With the Kfir currently in service with Colombia, Ecuador, and Sri Lanka, IAI relaunched a modernized version of the 1970s-era fighter back onto the international market in early 2013. The Block 60 standard aircraft features a 'zero-timed' airframe, system, sensor, and weapon enhancements, and is available in both a single- and twin-seat configuration.


    [Source: IHS Jane's]

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    The pod includes BIRD's SPREOS Directional Infra-Red Counter-Measure (DIRCM) as well as Missile Launch Detection Sensors (MILDS) and additional Flare Dispensers

    BIRD Aerosystems' Aeroshield Pod in full configuration at Paris Air Show 2017 (Photo credit: Air Recognition)

    BIRD Aerosystems, developer of Special Mission Aircraft Solutions (ASIO) and Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS), presents the AeroShield Pod in its full configuration for the first time at the Paris Air Show 2017.

    In its full configuration, the AeroShield Pod is available with BIRD Aerosystems' SPREOS Directional Infra-Red Counter-Measure (DIRCM) solution, making it the only pod solution that supports protection by both DIRCM and flares.

    Integrating the full AMPS system into an all-in-one Pod solution which includes BIRD's SPREOS Directional Infra-Red Counter-Measure (DIRCM) as well as Missile Launch Detection Sensors (MILDS) and additional Flare Dispensers, the AeroShield Pod was designed to provide the most comprehensive anti-missile aircraft protection for narrow and wide body aircraft and VIP jets. The AeroShield Pod is already fully operational and in use on VIP aircraft. 

    Using the AMPS-MV advanced configuration which ensures a Zero False Alarm rate, the AeroShield Pod is suitable for wide body aircraft such as the A320, B737, B777, A380, etc., and can be easily transferred between different aircraft, according to the company.

    "We are proud to present our latest solutions at the Paris Air Show. This includes our SPREOS DIRCM solution integrated within the AeroShield Pod which is the only pod solution that supports protection by both DIRCM and flares, and thus is an ideal all-in-one solution for protection of large aircraft and VIP jets," said Ronen Factor, Co-CEO and Founder.


    [Source: Air Recognition]

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    The company was awarded a $20 million contract by an African-based customer to equip a VIP Gulfstream G650 aircraft with J-MUSIC Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) systems

    Gulfstream G650 (Photo Credit: Gulfstream)

    Elbit Systems announced today that it was awarded more than a $20 million contract by an African-based customer to equip a VIP Gulfstream G650 aircraft with J-MUSIC Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) systems that include Elbit Systems’ advanced Infrared based Passive Airborne Warning System (IR PAWS). The contract will be performed over a one-year period.

    Having accumulated more than 30,000 hours of operation, Elbit Systems’ MUSIC family of DIRCM systems is in use by many customers worldwide on a wide range of small, medium and large aircraft platforms.

    "Being selected to install J-MUSIC on a VIP Gulfstream 650 aircraft is another vote of confidence and an indication of the strong demand for our high quality, high-reliability DIRCM systems," said Elad Aharonson, General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR Division. “We are proud to add Gulfstream to the growing range of aircraft platforms that are protected against IR-seeking weapons by our MUSIC systems. Given the constantly growing MANPADS threat for aviation, we are confident that more customers will follow in choosing our thoroughly tested and qualified DIRCM solutions."

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    The program will allow Sikorsky to manage and source its supply chain for CH-53D parts that are either obsolete or in diminishing supply


    Photo Credit: IAF

    Israel’s Ministry of Defense has signed an agreement with Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, to supply spare parts and associated engineering services in support of the CH-53D heavy lift helicopters operated by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) since 1969. Intended for a duration of seven years, the comprehensive program will allow Sikorsky to manage and source its supply chain for CH-53D parts that are either obsolete or in diminishing supply.

    "This program will ensure that the IAF can overcome a growing shortage of hard-to-acquire components for its CH-53D fleet to help improve mission readiness well into the next decade, and thereby extend operational life beyond the half-century mark," said Bill Gostic, vice president of Sikorsky Global Military Systems & Services. "Sikorsky will work across its supply chain to manufacture dozens of critical and low demand components that we or our suppliers have stopped making, with the added guarantees of supply quantity, consistency of quality, and price stability."

    Sikorsky will work with its US supplier base to produce more than 80 distinct part numbers to Sikorsky quality standards into the mid-2020s. Many of the parts listed in the contract are found in the dynamic sections of the aircraft, such as the gearbox and transmission.

    Israel acquired its fleet of two engine CH-53D heavy lift helicopters in 1969 and early 1970s. Designated Yas’ur by the Israeli Air Force, the helicopters have carried troops and heavy equipment into battle zones, served in a casualty evacuation role, and even taken part in electronic warfare missions. The Israeli Air Force remains the only D model operator in the world, although the model is similar in design to the CH-53G aircraft still operated by the German Air Force.


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    Aeronautics unveiled its first multi-rotor platform, the Pegasus 120, at the Paris Air Show. The VTOL UAV has a maximum payload weight of up to 75kg and can carry multiple payloads including COMINT and VISINT

    Aeronautics Company of Israel introduced its newest UAVs at the Paris Air Show, the largest and most important aerospace exhibition in the world. The Pegasus 120 is the company’s first multi-rotor platform, designed especially for defense and security missions.

    The VTOL UAV has a maximum payload weight of up to 75kg and ability to carry multiple payloads including COMINT, VISINT, and logistic payloads. These capabilities distinguish it from other multicopters designed for civilian use, making it an ideal solution for defense and security forces in military missions, HLS missions, Special Forces operations, etc.

    The company is also exhibiting the Orbiter 4, the latest in the company’s portfolio of fixed-wing UAS and can operate two different payloads simultaneously including maritime patrol radars and cellular interception sensors. The Orbiter 4 system is based on the aerodynamic structure and unique characteristics of the small, tactical Orbiter 3 UAV. The unique features of the Orbiter 4 allow it to loiter in the air for over 24 hours.

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    Developed by Rafael's Air Superiority Systems Division, the Drone Dome is designed to intercept UAVs using laser beams

    Israeli companies are drawing great interest at the Paris Air Show – the world's largest and most important aerospace exhibition taking place this week in Le Bourget.

    At the exhibition, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled its new laser-interception system designed to provide air defense against hostile drones (micro- and nano-UAVs) – the Drone Dome. The system detects, identifies, tracks, and neutralizes hostile drones operated by terrorist elements in no-fly zones for the purpose of carrying out attacks, gathering intelligence and other activities.

    The company revealed that the Drone Dome system is now integrated with a light beam; it uses laser technology that incinerates the drone with its payloads. The system is developed by the company's Air Superiority Systems Division, headed by Yossi Druker. This kind of laser causes no environmental damage, says Yossi Horowitz, deputy director of the marketing division.

    Col. (res.) Meir Bash, director of business development at the division, said during the exhibition that "You can't argue with the results – the laser incinerates the drone."

    Israel Defense has learned that a high-level government discussion will soon be scheduled to determine who is responsible for the country's anti-drone protection.


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    The new variant of the C-130J can conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, psychological operations, and resupply missions as well as infiltration, exfiltration of special operations forces

    Lockheed Martin announced the C-130J-SOF Super Hercules, dedicated to supporting international special operations forces.

    The company says it sees opportunities in the Middle East and Asia Pacific with upwards of 100-200 aircraft potentially required. "We came up with this configuration because we knew there was interest out there," said Tony Frese, VP of Business Development for Air Mobility and Maritime Missions.

    According to the company, the new variant of the C-130J was designed with ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) support in mind, additionally equipped for armed overwatch, fixed-wing helicopter refueling, or to act as a FARP (Forward Air Refueling Point). The aircraft also has provision for an in-flight refueling probe.

    The C-130J-SOF will feature options for a 30mm gun, provision for AGM-114 Hellfire, tanker pods, EO/IR imaging system. Lockheed says the aircraft can be made available 36 months after order placement.


    [Source: Combat Aircraft]

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    The F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter has completed firing of an AIM-9X infrared-guided missile while flying upside-down

    Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

    An external pylon-mounted AIM-9X air-to-air missile was launched while the F-35 CF-2 was flying inverted over the Patuxent River test range. 

    Even though the F-35 is not designed for close range air-to-air combat with an adversary, the missile launch in the inverted negative G conditions will further improve its dogfighting capability.


    [Source: Aviation Analysis]


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    IAF & USAF aircraft fly above Israel during Juniper Falcon 2017 exercise (Photo: IDF)

    The Israeli Air Force's (IAF's) Planning and Organization Department is currently implementing a plan aimed at ensuring Israel can sustain an unprecedented campaign of strikes if another full-scale conflict breaks out, a senior IAF source has told Jane's.

    The source said the current plan for 2020 is to ensure the IAF can direct "waves of massive, heavy fire" at any potential enemy and reach a strike rate that "surpasses anything seen in Israeli military history – and even world military history – relative to the number of aircraft."


    [Source: IHS Jane's]


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    Three years after the "Lavi" (M-346) first arrived in Israel, the Israeli Air Force upgrades its advanced training aircraft capabilities. Some of the latest updates include external fuel tanks, live ammunition, and an updated program block

    The Lavi jet trainer (Photo Credit: IAF's Flight Test Squadron)

    The "Lavi" (M-346) aircraft has ushered the IAF into a new era in terms of instruction and has brought along an essential change in IAF fighter pilot and WSO (Weapon Systems Operator) training. Recently, the aircraft has been upgraded to include new features, upon the completion of a series of tests conducted by the IAF's Flight Test Squadron, which is positioned in Tel-Nof AFB. One of these features is an updated program block, which enables the aircraft to carry training munition and detachable fuel tanks. 

    The "Lavi" (M-346), manufactured by the Italian "Leonardo" company, is an advanced fighter instruction aircraft which replaced the "Ayit" (A-4 Skyhawk) and "Netz" (F-16A/B). The Italian aircraft is utilized by the IAF Flight Academy Fighter Division cadets and its graduates in their Operational and Advanced Operational Training Course with the "Flying Tiger" squadron in Hatzerim AFB. These courses serve as an intermediate stage between the completion of their basic flight training and their integration in the IAF's operational squadrons. "We have clocked the highest number of flight hours on this aircraft amongst all of its operators around the world, and the experience we acquired allows us to highly improve the jet's influence on our aircrew members' training process," said Lt. Col. Rotem, head test pilot at the Flight Test Squadron.

    Updating the Program

    The "Lavi" aircraft arrived in Israel with an empty configuration, devoid of external loads, and passed test flights conducted by the Flight Test Squadron in an attempt to ensure that the aircraft was ready for full use and that all of its systems were up to the IAF's safety standards. As part of the tests, the squadron's test pilots and engineers evaluated the factors influencing the aircraft's behavior. Amongst others, the difficulty level of the aircraft's operation was tested in complex scenarios such as air-air combat and attack maneuvers.

    The aircraft's integration program included a gradual update of four avionics and configuration blocks upon their arrival in Israel. Program block updates are upgrades to the jet's capabilities, enabling a new flight configuration. After the block was heavily tested evaluation flights were performed by the "Flying Tiger" squadron.

    "Alongside its upgraded avionics, the aircraft is so advanced that all of its functions are computer-based. Its program block also deals with its avionics and steering systems – which means that in order to develop a new flight configuration or equip the 'Lavi' with external loads, an update to the aircraft's program block was necessary," says Lt. Col. Rotem. "We later flew the upgraded aircraft, shared the information with the relevant factors, and released a debrief in order to enable the flight academy to operate the aircraft with the latest block."

    Additional upgrades to the "Lavi" jet's capabilities are the ability to carry BDU-33 training bombs and detachable fuel tanks to prolong its flight time. Upgrades of this kind allow the IAF to maximize the training progress of its young aircrew members, as they play an integral part in bringing the "Lavi," a training aircraft, close to the technological level of the operational platforms which aircrew members will encounter in the IAF's operational squadrons.

    The "Lavi" arrived with a configuration which allowed enough fuel for a 1 hour and 15-minute flight. The desire to extend the flight time created a need for external fuel tanks, which will allow extra time in the air. In training flights today, trainees' aircraft are often joined by an instructor's aircraft. Using external fuel tanks, the instructor's aircraft will be able to stay in the air for prolonged periods of time while trainees rotate, and many flights will be spared.

    The "Lavi" can release bombs virtually so that the only difference between the old method and the new is the sight of the bomb hitting the ground. New training bombs will raise the bar for the training of young pilots and WSOs. "The 'Lavi,' like the IAF's operational aircraft, has a networked function capability, which enables parallel management of weapon systems in a number of aircraft, such as missiles and bombs. In terms of flight, it is reminiscent of the fighter jets used by the IAF. An addition of live munition will improve our operational training exponentially," says Maj. Omer, Deputy Commander of the "Flying Tiger" Squadron.

    Soon: Networked "Lavi" Simulators 

    Fighter Division Flight Academy cadets and young graduates all train in the "Lavi" simulator, which is composed of four separate training chambers, in which they undergo many training sessions and emergency simulations. The Flight Test Squadron will soon conduct a test to examine the simulator's connectivity, which will enable the IAF to connect between the test chambers and bring with it the option for mutual training sessions for a number of aircrew members simultaneously.

    The ability to simultaneously simulate the same mission is critical and inseparable from fighter pilot and WSO training, and as a result, an advanced, networked mission simulator is purchased along with the aircraft. "The simulator allows us to sit in a dome and see the action from a cockpit identical to a real one. It gives us the ability to fly in a formation of four on the ground, and train both pilots and WSOs. The FTS (Flight Test Squadron) will soon test the connected simulators, and enable the IAF to connect a number of simulator chambers for the purpose of mutual training."

    "In the future, I see the 'Lavi' acquiring additional abilities which will drastically improve aircrew training. Abilities related to hardware and software," concluded Maj. Omer. Maj Omer added that they strive to join the IAF's operational networks, and by doing so, connect to the entire air force and perform joint training missions with the entire fighting division."


    The article was originally published by Eitam Almadon & Illy Peery on the IAF website

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    Many air forces from around the world took part in the largest military air show in the world. For the first time in 20 years, the Israeli Air Force also participated in the event. Special coverage of the Royal International Air Tattoo 2017

    F-15 fighter jet accompanied by a B-2 bomber (Photo: Ofer Zidon)

    The Royal International Air Tattoo, the world's largest military air show, takes place every year in mid-July at the RAF Fairford Air Force Base.

    The purpose of the event, which has been taking place since the 1960s, is to showcase the capabilities of NATO air forces to the public.

    In recent years, air forces of non-NATO countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, India, Croatia and Bosnia, have also sent delegations to the event. This year, for the first time in 20 years, the Israeli Air Force also participated in the event, presenting the C-130J "Shimshon" of the Elephant Squadron. Unit 669, The IAF's Combat Search & Rescue (CSAR) extraction unit, also demonstrated its unique capabilities.

    Each year, aerobatic teams from different countries perform at the event. This year, these teams included the British Air Force's Red Arrows and the US Air Force's Thunderbirds, as well as the aerobatics team of the Swiss Air Force, the Jordanian Air Force, and – for the first time – the Finnish Air Force.

    Marking its 70th anniversary, the US Air Force conducted a special flight that involved various types of aircraft, including the B-2 stealth bomber that flew in from the United States especially for this occasion.

    One of the most special appearances at the event was made by the Ukrainian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-27. Rumor has it that the Russians opposed the display of their first-line warplane at the event, but the Ukrainians decided to present it anyway.

    Another interesting display was a tactical demonstration of the British Air Force's AH-64D assault helicopter. The helicopter simulated air support for ground forces that were ambushed in Afghanistan, using pyrotechnics and controlled explosions.

    During the event, the British Air Force commemorated its victory in the Battle of Britain, as a British Lancaster bomber flew alongside two Spitfire planes.

    The USAF also displayed its multi-mission V22 Osprey tilt-rotor military aircraft.

    "In with the old, in with the new": An F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet flew alongside a P51 Mustang – the main US fighter plane in World War II.

    The Americans also sent their veteran U2 spy plane.

    The French Air Force showcased two Mirage aircraft…

    … And a Rafale fighter jet

    The Jordanian Air Force sent a C-130 Hercules with a unique painting of Petra on its tail.


    Photography: Ofer Zidon


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