Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ministerial Committee Approves Acquisition of Italian Trainer

Israel will acquire the M-346 trainer aircraft for approximately 4 billion NIS, and Italy will carry out a reciprocal acquisition at a similar scope. Israel’s Minister of Defense: “The deal will infuse hundreds of millions of dollars into the leading companies in Israel’s defense industry”

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Acquisitions, headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, approved the Ministry of Defense proposal for the large-scale acquisition deal with the Italian government. At the center of the deal is the acquisition of the IAF’s next trainer aircraft, and the Italian government’s reciprocal acquisition from the Israeli defense industries.

According to the deal that’s been formed, Israel’s Ministry of Defense will acquire thirty M-346 trainer aircraft by the Italian company Aermacchi for the Israeli Air Force, at a scope of 4 billion NIS ($1 billion).

In reciprocation of the deal, the Italian government will carry out an acquisition at a scope of 4 billion NIS from the Israeli defense industries. According to the statement made by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the scope of the transactions represents billions of NIS over a period of 25 years for the Israeli economy and the defense establishment. A considerable part of the sum will reach the Israeli defense industries and allow for the development of advanced technologies, along with producing thousands of jobs.

Senior officials from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the IDF, and the IAF detailed all of the considerations that brought the Ministry, the IDF, and the IAF to select the Italian reciprocal acquisition and the Italian trainer aircraft.

The CEO of the Ministry of Defense, Udi Shani, presented the highlights of the staff work carried out by the Minister of Defense and the IAF in the months leading up to the selection of the deal.

There are four components at the center of the deal: the reciprocal deal, which will provide thousands of jobs for the economy and the Israeli defense industry; the quality of the aircraft and its cost; the financing deal; and the recommendation of the IAF, which professionally preferred the Italian trainer.

During the discussion, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “It is a very important acquisition for training the pilots of the IAF, which is an essential part of Israel’s security.”

Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, added, “the deal with the Italian government will provide the IAF with the tools to continue training the world’s best fighter pilots in the future. It will also introduce hundreds of millions of dollars to the leading companies in the Israeli defense industry, in a manner that will help the defense establishment preserve its technological superiority.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said to those attending the discussion, "The air force is the strategic branch and the most important offensive component in the IDF’s decisiveness. The acquisition of the aircraft will allow for the qualification of the IAF's future pilots three decades in the future, in front of the threats and challenges in the regional arena.”

Ministry of Defense CEO Udi Shani told the members of the minister's committee, "The large deal with the Italian government reflects the best interest for Israel, the defense establishment, and the IAF, in all four parameters. It will also allow us to replace the Skyhawk helicopters that have been used by the IAF’s instruction layout for nearly 40 years and to improve the safety of the air cadets. No less important, the deal with Italy will allow the defense establishment to fund the development of projects of strategic importance for the security for the state of Israel, while simultaneously infusing billions of NIS into the Israeli defense industry, and yielding thousands of work places for the Israeli defense industries.”

Following the approval of the minister's committee, the deal will be brought before the Knesset’s shared committee for the defense budget in the coming days for final approval.

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