By Arie Egozi
Some airlines flying in war zones in Eastern Europe show great interest in the Israeli MUSIC system, that protects passenger aircraft from shoulder launched missiles.
The negotiations are in low profile, but sources confirmed that “in this part of the world there is real concern and a search for solutions”.
Two months ago, the Polish ministry of defence ordered an unknown number of Elbit system Directed IR Countermeasures (DIRCM) MUSIC systems against shoulder launched missile. The negotiations began last year, and recently the two sides agreed on a deal. The first Polish aircraft has arrived in Israel for installation.
It is not known on what aircraft the MUSIC system will be installed, but sources in Poland said that it is likely that they will be carried by the Boeing 737-800 that the Polish government purchased to serve as VIP transport, mainly for the Polish president.
This aircraft was delivered last year .The polish government plans to buy at least two additional VIP aircraft. According to the Polish sources one will be a Gulfstream G-550.
Last year, NATO decided to equip additional Airbus A330 tankers with the Elbit Systems J-Music system.
This is a US$46 million follow on order of the systems and it will be installed on additional Airbus A330 Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet.
Similar to several previous awards from global air forces and other customers, Elbit Systems is equipping NATO’s Airbus A330 tankers with the J-Music DIRCM systems along with the Company’s Infra-Red-based Passive Airborne Warning Systems (PAWS IR).
J- MUSIC is a version of the Israeli company MUSIC counter measures family. The J-Music is designed for the protection of large aircraft. This System uses the same DIRCM as is in the C-MUSIC. According to Elbit, the system can be easily integrated on any type of aircraft, in a single or dual turret configuration.
Last year Elbit systems signed another deal to supply its MUSIC system. This US$20 million contract was signed with an unnamed African based customer that decided to equip its VIP Gulfstream G650 aircraft with the J-MUSIC.
In 2011, the Israeli government decided to equip aircraft operated by Israeli airlines with a version of the MUSIC. This after in 2002 terrorists tried to down an Israeli passenger aircraft in Kenya. The two SA-7 shoulder launched missiles missed.
The system is installed in a pod under the fore section of the aircraft fuselage. It is also used by the Italian Air Force to protect the C27J, C130J and AW101 helicopter platforms and by the Brazilian Air Force to protect the KC-390 aircraft.
The MUSIC technology is based on a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) for the missile’s tracking and laser jamming to blind the missile’s infrared seeker.
Elbit Systems refused to comment on the deal with the Polish government.