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Israel announces that Oron intelligence aircraft is operational

Oron arriving at Nevatim Air Base in April 2023. (Israeli Air Force)

The Oron intelligence-gathering aircraft is carrying out missions in support of Operation ‘Iron Swords' against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on 26 March.

“The aircraft became operational quickly for use in Operation ‘Iron Swords' and has already recorded hundreds of operational flight hours and close to 100 sorties,” the MoD said in a statement.

Developed by the MoD's Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the Oron is a Gulfstream G550 business jet equipped with an advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar produced by IAI subsidiary Elta, as well as electro-optical and signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensors and advanced data-processing systems.

“What makes Oron unique is its ability to perform a wide range of intelligence missions in the same sortie and to transmit in real time to all relevant entities,” the MoD's statement said. It added that the aircraft can collect a larger volume of information than any other Israeli platform.

The aircraft was unveiled on 4 April 2021, when it landed at Nevatim Air Base to be fitted with its mission systems in Israel. The MoD announced in August 2023 that Oron had begun flight tests, describing it as the most advanced aircraft of its kind.

Lieutenant Colonel Yoed, head of the DDR&D's Missionized Aircraft Branch, said he called 122 ‘Nachson' Squadron and industry partners to get Oron operational as soon as details of Hamas' 7 October 2023 attack on Israel emerged.

For more information on Oron, please see Israeli official details new intel aircraft .

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