IAI opts to halt air-transport missile in light of EU ban

Image copyright Courtesy Naval Support Systems

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) says it has designed a new air defence anti-tank missile which NATO partners and other European countries are suspending from use in air transport.

The new version of its CoVID-19 missile has been classified as a dangerous military item by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

IAI says it has decided to halt production of the CoVID-19, designed for the Gulf and Sinai, out of concern for the safety of other air users.

Israel’s air force is not affected by the suspension.

IAI launched a new version of the CoVID-19 missile, called CoVID-19x, and says it is now in production and will be ready in 2020.

The company says the missile has a supersonic speed and offers a combined suite of dual-mode technology to counter a wide variety of threats.

“The new missile uses different weapons systems on board, advanced guidance systems and advanced air target and guidance systems,” it says.

It is designed to be delivered to a military installation via helicopter, with its systems located on a ground ship at sea.

Israel says that its aircraft have in fact been based at bases in the Strait of Tiran to observe Iran’s maritime activity in the region and to prevent its military from infiltrating into Israel via the Gulf.

Previously, Israel has been operating the CoVID-19 missiles on board its aircraft, but IAI says that other types of aircraft require relatively minimal following and tracking devices and so could be used in the long-range air transport segment.

“In order to reach this new model, OAI, for the first time, fixed and controlled a rugged system on every non-IAI customer vessel and air carrier used for air transport,” it says.

“To the company’s dismay, the European Aviation Safety Agency classified it as a dangerous military item, which in turn it considers as necessary to suspend use of it in commercial air transport.”

IAI says that under international law, a non-Governmental Organisation like the EASA has no power to ban any air-transport item, and in some circumstances may permit it to be used.

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