One more step towards operational acceptance of the new aircraft of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: the Boeing 767 aircraft that was assembled on the Israel Aerospace Industries line at Ben-Gurion Airport took off Thursday morning for its third test flight.
Over the last few days, the Israeli developed DIRCM (Direct Infra-Red Counter Measure) anti-missiles system was installed on board the aircraft indicating that the installation of most of the defense and avionic systems has already been completed.
Last week this DIRCM system was spotted onboard the official aircraft of the President of France Emmanuel Macron when arriving in Israel to attend the 75 anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp.
The system that was developed by Elbit Systems ISTAR division integrates fiber laser with thermal detection technology generating strong counter signals that force heat-seeking missiles to divert off-target. The system detects missiles launch in a fraction of a second and directs a laser beam to the head of the missile.
Four of the systems’ cameras are housed in a glass turret that is positioned at the lower back part of the aircraft providing 360 degrees coverage and a real-time detection capability. A laser beam that is directed towards the missile disrupts its seeking capability diverting it off course.
Elbit Systems has secured NIS 2.5 billion in contracts to supply these systems in international markets. These systems by Elbit are installed onboard fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters in 15 countries around the globe.
This DIRCM system was installed onboard the airplanes if the Israeli commercial airliners- ELAL, Arkia, and Israir- by a directive of defense authorities following the failed attempt by Al Qaida associated operatives in 2002 to shoot down an Arkia flight using two shoulder-fired missiles.
The new aircraft of the prime minister, that was named “Wing of Zion” conducted its first flight test in November 2019.
Sources familiar with aircraft plan told Ynet that save from unexpected delays that aircraft would go into service in two months.