Elbit Systems will operate ‘Swallow’ aircraft until 2022

IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

Elbit Systems Ltd. and the Israeli Air Force continue their cooperation regarding the Swallow training airplane

Date: 18/02/2010, 9:55 PM    

Elbit Systems Ltd. recently signed an agreement with the Ministry of Defense regarding the Swallow aircraft, which is used by the cadets of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) Flight School at the Hatzerim airbase. The new contract makes Elbit Systems Ltd. the producer of the airplanes until 2022.

The IAF began operating the Swallow in 2002. The two-seater aircraft is used during training by future IAF pilots. Elbit Systems Ltd. has since then been producing the aircraft through the method of private finance initiative (PFI); The IAF buys flight hours from the company, who in turn organizes the production and maintenance of the Swallow airplanes.

“The Swallow has a very unique task,” pointed out Lt. Col. Itai, one of the instructing commanders at the IAF Flight School. “Since the aircraft is a two-seater, the student and the instructor can sit next to each other. I am very satisfied with the Swallow because it responds perfectly to the special needs of flight instruction.”

Lt. Col. Shalom, head of the Transport Department in the IAF Equipment Group, who is responsible, among other things, for the Swallow aircrafts, added: “This airplane is the only one in the IAF that is maintained through PFI, which means that the IAF is renting the plane per hour from Elbit Systems Ltd., and is the cheapest solution for the IAF. Even though the company is obligated only towards the Civil Aviation Authority, our work relations are great and they cooperate with us regarding things that we feel we need to have a say in as well.”

Yoram Shmuely, joint CEO of the Elbit Systems Ltd. Aircraft Division, commented saying that “The IAF’s decision to sign an extension of our agreement proves their high satisfaction with the services, the availability, the usability and the safety level achieved through years of the Swallow project.”