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IAI seeks more aviation manufacturing capacity

IAI's aerostructure products include wings for the Lockheed Martin F-35. (IAI)

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is exploring buying or investing in companies in the United States to expand its aerostructures manufacturing footprint, according to a company official.

Such a transaction would complement the work IAI does in Israel for US defence contractors, including building wings for the Lockheed Martin F-35 and F-16 fighter jets and conformal fuel tanks for the Boeing F-15 fighter, said Amir Geva, IAI's executive vice-president for North America.

IAI's aerostructures customers are “very happy with what we [have] provided, so we do want to enlarge this activity”, Geva told Janes on 5 July. “And we do understand that in some cases, it would be better to do it in the US”, where local production is sometimes preferred.

A deal could be announced in late 2023 or early 2024, he said.

IAI's existing US presence includes missile business Stark Aerospace in Columbus, Mississippi; radar provider Elta North America in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, near Baltimore; and IAI North America's headquarters facility in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington, DC.

IAI's new US efforts include demonstrating loitering munitions for an undisclosed US Department of Defense (DoD) entity and offering vehicle protection sensors to American Rheinmetall Vehicles and General Dynamics Land Systems, which are vying to replace the US Army's Bradley infantry fighting vehicle with the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle, formerly known as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.

IAI expects to make “a few” announcements at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, DC, in October. “AUSA is going to be a major event for us,” Geva said. He declined to provide a preview.

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