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Elbit Systems has marked 20 years of operating the elementary trainer fleet of the Israeli Air Force (IAF), achieving a 95% availability rate, the company announced on 29 March 2023.

The IAF’s elementary trainer fleet consists of 16 Grob G 120 Snunit piston-engine-powered low-wing primary trainers.

Under a multi-year private finance initiative (PFI) programme established in 2002, Elbit procures, operates and maintains the G 120 fleet to provide the IAF with its required flight hours. The company has earned follow-on contracts to continue delivering this service for two consecutive 10-year periods.

During the 20-year period of its operation, the G 120 fleet has delivered 140,000 training sorties and 85,000 flight hours while maintaining an availability rate of 94.7%, Elbit noted.

Of 17 Snunits originally delivered, one G 120 was lost, and an IAF pilot and cadet killed, when it crashed in southern Israel during a training flight in November 2020.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has also contracted Elbit Systems to handle the IAF’s Beechcraft T-6 Texan II basic turboprop trainer fleet and Leonardo M-346 advanced jet trainer fleet, while the Israeli Ministry of Public Security has contracted the company to deliver, operate and maintain Israel’s Air Tractor-based aerial firefighting fleet.

Beyond Israel, Affinity, a joint venture between Elbit Systems UK and KBR, was contracted in 2016 to procure, operate and maintain the Embraer Phenom 100 twin jet, T-6 and G 120TP fleets of the UK’s Military Flying Training System for the Royal Air Force. In 2020 Elbit secured a roughly USD 1.7 Bn (EUR 1.56 Bn) contract from the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense to establish and operate the Hellenic International Flight Training Center with its fleets of T-6s and M-346s.

These various contracts bring the total number of aircraft operated by Elbit Systems to more than 170.

Peter Felstead