Israel Aerospace is flying high and is set to manufacture over 800 F35 wings by 2034.
By David E. Kaplan
Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) is Israel’s major aerospace and aviation manufacturer, producing aerial and astronautic systems for both military and civilian usage.
Founded in 1953 under the initiative of the late State President and Nobel Peace Laurette, Shimon Peres – when Israel was under threat of annihilation by all its neighbours in the region – IAI today, designs and builds civil aircraft, drones, fighter aircraft, missiles, avionics and space-based systems no longer exclusively for itself but also for export.
Renowned for its state-of-the-art electronics – IAI’s products are in hot demand by foreign militaries.
A case in point is the joint collaboration of IAI and Lockheed Martin that this month marked the delivery of the 100th advanced combat aircraft F-35 stealth fighter wing delivered by IAI at a ceremony held at the company’s wing assembly line.
Established in November 2014, the wings manufacturing center of IAI’s aviation division has established a solid reputation in making wings for the F-16 and T-38. The centre is now expected to manufacture over 800 pairs of F35 wings by 2034 using state-of-the-art technology which includes a unique composite layer of materials called AFP (Automatic Fiber Placement). The 3mm. thick threads that eventually become one unit, give the wings the ability to evade radar detection.
On December 2018, IAI inaugurated an innovative line for production of F-35 wing skins, expanding the collaboration between the two companies.
Out Of This World
Israel Country Executive of Lockheed Martin, Joshua Shani, said that the delivery of the 100th wing signals “a significant milestone” for the F-35 programme. “We take this opportunity to mark the broad cooperation Lockheed Martin holds with the local industries as a whole and IAI in particular, who play a major role in the global F-35 programme. The F-35 is the leading 5th Generation fighter jet in the world, manufactured by the highest standards along the supply chain. We look forward to deepening the fruitful, strong cooperation of today and in future programmes, with both the Ministry of Defense and Israeli defense industries.”
Nimrod Sheffer, the president and CEO of IAI, said that “IAI’s collaboration with Lockheed Martin has major business and strategic importance for us. We regard it as a vote of confidence on behalf of Lockheed Martin and the US administration in IAI’s capabilities as a global leader. We are excited to deliver the 100th wing and believe our collaboration will expand even more in the future.”
Having invested multiple resources in the most advanced systems and technologies, IAI has established a production line characterized by the utmost of precision.
The production line, which will last around 20 years, is expected to generate revenues of more than $2.5 billion during the next 10-15 years
At the launch in December 2018, IAI vice-president Shlomi Karako said that “the opening of the production line constitutes a significant milestone in the realization of the company’s strategy for building advanced capabilities in the field of composite materials manufacturing technology. Thanks to this move, IAI will belong to a ‘limited club’ of companies with these manufacturing capabilities.”
I am reminded when interviewing Shimon Peres for Haaretz when he became State President in 2007, and him saying:
“When in the 1950s Israel was mostly an economy based on agriculture and I pushed for industry, people said, “What; you’re crazy, the country can’t even build bicycles!” Look who’s crazy; where are those people today and where is Israel.”
From the days when Israel failed to “build bicycles”, Israel today is a world leader in converting ideas into reality.