Singapore Air Show

New Loitering Munitions Feature in Growing IAI Portfolio

 - February 16, 2016, 8:09 PM

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI, Stand N41) is showcasing a range of new products at the Singapore Airshow, including the latest developments in its growing family of loitering munitions. The company already offers the Harop electro-optic/infrared-guided man-in-the-loop weapon and the Harpy autonomous anti-radar loitering munition, and recently the latter has been thoroughly revamped into the Harpy NG.

Two main changes differentiate the new version of Harpy. First, it has been repackaged into the same airframe as the Harop, in turn offering higher altitude capability, extended range and longer loiter time compared to the original model. Harpy NG also has a new seeker that has greater frequency coverage, extending particularly into the lower frequencies, to enable it to counter a wider range of modern air defense radar threats.

Another new loitering munition is the Green Dragon, a low-cost tactical munition designed primarily for use by small ground units, including special forces. Powered by an electric motor, Green Dragon can loiter for up to two hours at a range of up to 25 miles (40 km). It sends back imagery via a low-power datalink to a tablet-sized control panel, from which the operator can designate a target for attack. The vehicle has a warhead of around 6 pounds (3 kg) and can be aimed with an accuracy of less than three feet (about 1 meter) CEP (circle of error probability). The Green Dragon is launched from a sealed canister, and up to 16 can be carried on a small tactical vehicle.

 Loitering munitions form one part of a large exhibit from IAI (Chalet CD03) that highlights the company’s diverse portfolio. Various unmanned technologies are on show, as are missile products such as Barak 8. The company is also promoting its civil aviation cyber-security solutions, and its aerostructures capabilities that will see IAI produce more than 800 wing-sets for the Lockheed Martin F-35 in the coming years. Here in Singapore, IAI has established its new Custudio research and development center as a center-of-excellence for advancing cyber early warning capability.

Strategic Shifts

In an interview with AIN in advance of the Singapore show, IAI president and CEO Joseph Weiss said that shrinking international defense budgets have played to the strengths of his company in terms of its ability to deliver products with reduced total life-cycle costs. In this regard, he believes IAI leads the way, especially in the UAV and simulation and training system sectors.

That said, he added that in the coming five years, IAI aims both to put in place a stronger strategy for exploiting the commercial aerospace market and also, more specifically, to achieve significant growth in both land- and maritime-related products. For now, the main focus of research and development spending will be in the areas of UAVs, robotics, air defense systems, special missions aircraft and cyber-technology. The company reported a rebound in its recently sluggish Boeing 757 passenger-to-freight conversion business.

In Asia, IAI’s reach is expanding through a series of local acquisitions and partnerships. “There is no doubt that competition is growing and markets are becoming more and more challenging,” Weiss commented. “We will continue to look for new markets and for ways to deepen our holding in current ones, including acquiring and partnering with local companies, local production, knowledge transfer and more.”

In China, IAI recently announced a joint venture with Lingyun (Yichang) Science and Technology Group Co., Ltd., to establish its first local Chinese maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) enterprise in the Hubei province.  This joint operation will be dedicated to expanding civil maintenance services and cargo conversion, as well as laying the groundwork for additional business. Elsewhere, IAI has an agreement to cooperate with the Shantou municipal government of China, the Guangdong Airport Authority and other Chinese partners, to develop and expand the local civil aviation industry.