An Israeli firm has decided to resume the production of equipment meant to be installed on Turkish reconnaissance planes. Informed sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the English-language Hurriyet Daily News newspaper on Friday that Elta Systems Ltd. has decided to restart production of electronic measuring systems (EMS) for four Turkish Boeing 737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. Elta’s decision to renew the project may mean that Israel is putting an end to its two-year defense exports ban on Turkey. The Israeli company is the single producer of EMS systems for Boeing’s 737 aircraft, which are to be used as part of Turkey’s NATO forces.
In 2002, Turkey’s Under-secretariat for Defense Industries, the procurement agency, ordered four Boeing 737-700 AEW&C aircraft, a ground radar and control systems, plus ground control segments for mission crew training, mission support and maintenance support.Elta Systems Ltd. was commissioned to manufacture EMS systems for the four planes. The deal reportedly costs more than $100 million. But the Israeli defense ministry suspended the project six months ago, after Elta had already completed two of the devices. AEW&C is a radar system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and control and command the battle space in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes. Used at a high altitude, the radars on the aircraft allow the operators to distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft hundreds of miles away. The system is used offensively to direct fighters to their target locations and defensively in order to counter attacks by enemy forces, both in the air and on the ground. MP/AZ