Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA_June 2012 Contents STRONG GROWTH FOR ISRAEL
IN ASIA ARIEEGOZI / Tel Aviv
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n recent years the presence of Asian
visitors in the facilities of major Israeli
defence industries has become almost a
daily occurrence. But without any doubt,
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is the
main beneficiary from the appetite of some Asian
countries for very advanced weapon systems. In
some cases the development of systems is being
partially funded by these customers.
One of the many examples is the effort to
develop an unmanned helicopter for the Indian
Navy. IAI and Hindustan aeronautics limited
(HAL) have been performing preliminary work on
a prototype of an unmanned helicopter based on
the locally made Chetak helicopter. The Chetak
is the upgraded version of the Chetan, a French
platform that was made under license in India.
The flight control system for the Indian navy’s
program was developed by IAI using a Bell-206.
However, at this point is seems that until IAI gets
a contract it will not go alone into the investment
needed to develop an operational product.
The Israeli Navy also has an interest in an
unmanned helicopter for its missile boats. At this
stage the navy uses manned helicopters but their
operation is complicated in rough see conditions.
In the late 80’s, IAI used a Gyrodyne QH-50 ,
as the basis for the Hellstar hovering UAS. The
program was terminated after the first prototype
was damaged in a hard landing.
The operational requirements of the Israeli
Navy and others have encouraged IAI to resume
its work on a very advanced vertical takeoff
Uninhabited Aerial System (UAS). The company
is now working on a dedicated unmanned
rotorcraft and on a kit that will allow “Plug and
Fly” conversion of any helicopter. Sources say
that the initial cooperation with HAL has been
changed and that continues “in other directions”.
Immediately after IAI delivered the three
Russian made IL-76 aircraft that were converted
to serve as airborne early warning (AEW)
platforms for the Indian Air Force negotiations
began on a follow on deal. India prefers that the
additional AEW systems will be carried by IL-76
transport aircraft like the three supplied by IAI last
year - probably for commonality considerations.
The additional systems - if purchased - will be
an advanced version and will include a series of
software and hardware improvements like the
ones incorporated in the third IL-76. New Delhi
has requested the additional capabilities after
receiving the first two IL-76s equipped with the
Israeli systems. The Indian IL-76 AEW aircraft
were designed to enable users to get an enhanced
picture by integrating offboard sensors carried by
manned and unmanned platforms.
IAI has identified the huge potential of the
Indian market and has established the joint
venture company Nova. It was formed in 2009
by IAI and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) for
the development, manufacturing, marketing and
support of defence products in India. According to
the agreement, Nova focuses its efforts on UAS,
One of the many examples is the effort to develop an unmanned
helicopter for the Indian Navy
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