With president and CEO Joseph Weiss completing his first year in office, IAI has a relatively new cadre of top management executives, but remains focused on the development of new systems and technologies to face future challenges. A key element of the company’s strategy for sustained growth and development is cooperation with its customers, with governments and with other companies, both at home and overseas.
During the last year IAI (Chalet A206, Static B37 & B40) has maintained its performance. “We have enjoyed considerable success in several high-profile programs,” reported Weiss to AIN just before the Paris Air Show, “which include successful first fly-out of our Arrow 3 exo-atmospheric interceptor, the launch of a new communication satellite program and certification of our G280 executive jet [with Gulfstream]. On the business front, earlier this year we had a very successful issue of bonds through the Tel Aviv stock exchange.”
Here at Paris, IAI is showcasing many of its innovative product lines in the form of total solutions. The company has a range of technologies and products, in space, air, land and sea, as well as in defense, homeland security and commercial aviation. Highlighted systems include the Arrow ATBM, Awacs mission aircraft and the Green Pine national defense radar, as well as an array of advanced sensors, command and control systems and advanced network solutions.
“IAI’s total solutions combine our leading sensors, platforms, C4I and weapons to offer new game-changing capabilities,” explained Weiss. “We are leveraging breakthrough achievements in high performance staring-sensors and networks to offer unprecedented performance in persistent intelligence and fire for area dominance. Our total dominance solution enables us to cover very large areas, detecting and tracking hundreds of targets in real time. It allows us to respond immediately and close the loop with precision weapons very effectively, at very high rates and with minimal collateral damage.”
IAI operates in both commercial and defense markets, and challenges are faced in both. “The commercial aviation market is still suffering from the most recent global economic slowdown; it seems to be recovering very slowly,” said Weiss. “Our defense business is where I see our main emerging challenges. Although we have done well in recent years, we are now looking at defense budget cuts in the USA and Europe. For IAI this means that we’ll be meeting more competitors in our foreign markets. On the other hand, in our target markets we see a trend of rising barriers for foreign procurement, such as high offset demands and regulated preference for local industries. Overall, I believe the changing business landscape will also create new opportunities. We have good reason to be optimistic about our future.”
One area where IAI has been active is in unmanned aerial vehicles, and in more than 30 years of operation IAI UAVs have racked up more than one million flight hours. The company offers a wide range of UAVs, from small vertical takeoff vehicles to the five-ton Heron TP. Although the smaller end of the market is important, Weiss foresees that IAI’s main UAV business will continue to be in the larger systems.
Another key segment for IAI is radar, in which the company’s Elta group is a world-leader. “Radar-based systems are and will remainkey in addressing basic operational needs for high-accuracy, long-range, day/night and all-weather ISR [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance],” said Weiss. “Radar technology is also at the core of our integrated solutions for air, ground, naval and space IMINT [imagery intelligence], surveillanceand reconnaissance, target acquisition, early warning and fire control systems.” The technology also allows IAI to offer sophisticated special-mission aircraft for AEW, Sigint and SAR/GMTI ground mapping missions.
IAI’s radar and system expertise, combined with its experience in modifying aircraft, allows it to provide highly capable platforms for the maritime patrol mission, which Weiss notes is increasingly important as threats proliferate. As well as offering turn-key modification programs of fixed-wing aircraft, IAI is also offering the Heron UAV as a maritime patrol platform. According to Weiss, the Heron “has been in operational use by Israeli and foreign customers for over a decade.” This maritime UAV uses a variety of IAI-made sensors, including long-range radar and observation systems, and Sigint intelligence-gathering systems. “IAI’s tight integration enables simultaneous use of the different sensors to achieve unmatched operational performance, including the discovery, identification and tracking of hundreds of targets, accurately and persistently, over a very large area,” added Weiss.
Although the company is focusing on defense systems at Paris, its commercial aviation capabilities are not being overlooked. The company is displaying the TaxiBot, an unmanned aircraft tug that tows aircraft robotically to allow them to taxi without operating their engines, in turn saving fuel, engine damage and pollution. This system will start operation at Frankfurt airport later this year.