ECA Program is ready to procure 36 advanced, single engine jets from Israeli Aircraft Industries, with 12 more under option. The jets fill the light weight fighter requirement of the “Integrated Opposing Force” (IOPFOR).
“Although the Su-35 and other 4th Gen. fighters are formidable aircraft, they will no longer have any real relevance beyond the 2020 horizon and seen the capital investments we have to think ahead” says Peter Campbell, COO of ECA Program BV. “IAI has a very good technology base and the flexibility needed to produce the aircraft in the best possible timeframe”. Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, who opposed the cancellation of the “Lavi” fighter, is one of the advocates of the so-called “Lavi-2” development.
Air superiority, EW and SEAD will be the primary roles with air-to-ground as a secondary capability. Flight performance is driven by a 135kN class engine, allowing the aircraft to operate at over Mach 2.2 with supercruise capability and an operational ceiling of around 55,000 feet. Specifically built for training support, there is no capability to carry live ammunition, all else being electronically simulated.
The aircraft will incorporate elements of the fifth generation such as; signature management, DSI inlets, discrete curvature and a high degree of composite materials. The avionics suite is to be “integrated” and incorporate AESA radar, double wavelength IRST, digital RWR, glass cockpit, helmet mounted designator and advanced ECM/ECCM measures.
With all options executed and including pilot training, spares and special tooling, the value of the program could amount to over USD 7 billion, over the life cycle of the assets.
Source: ECA Program BV
Date: Aug 10, 2012