IAI-Elta Systems has stepped up the marketing of a multi-mission airborne reconnaissance and surveillance system (Mars2) based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet. The sensor suite would combine SAR and GMTI radar plus EO/IR, Sigint and C3 capability “in a tight integration thanks to some unique algorithms,” said Gideon Landa, Elta’s general manager, airborne systems and radar division. Landa told the Airborne ISR conference, organized in London by Defence IQ, that the Mars2 will build on the company’s previous development of dedicated Sigint and C[onformal]AEW systems for the Israeli air force, on the Gulfstream G500 and G550 jets respectively, to provide complete ground situational awareness. “We’re looking for a customer. We have all of the payloads available already and are close to a mature solution that could be operational in three to four years,” he added. In previous briefings, such as during the CAEW international debut at Farnborough four years ago, the company said it was developing Mars2 for an Israeli MoD requirement.
Landa also revealed that the Israeli company might add its EL/M-20600 radar pod to the CAEW aircraft. This is a SAR/GMTI sensor package initially designed for carriage on fighter aircraft as a targeting system. It would allow the CAEW aircraft to perform ground surveillance. Separately, IAI-Elta is also proposing to add an AESA radar pod with 360-degree coverage to helicopters, primarily for the AEW role but with a secondary ground surveillance mission. Finally, the company is eyeing the Gulfstream G280 super-midsize jet as a “more affordable” platform for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications. IAI already builds the G280 in Israel for Gulfstream.