TEL AVIV (Feb. 7)
Premier Shimon Peres said today that Israel must go ahead with the design and construction of the Lavi, its second generation jet fighter plane, because it is essential.
He made his remarks to reporters on a visit to the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) where the Lavi is being developed. The project seemed in trouble recently because of Israel’s economic crisis. But Peres said he was convinced the Lavi must be built.
“It belongs to the new generation of highly modern fighters and I believe that in two or three aspects, the Lavi is far ahead of any other known aircraft available today, “Peres said. He added that the project was not behind schedule.
The IAI, meanwhile, presented Defense Minister Boyamu Sali Papua-New Guinea today with the first of three Arava transport planes ordered from Israel by that southwest Pacific nation. Sali is on an official visit to Israel. The remaining two planes will be handed over later this month.
They were ordered nearly a year ago and in the interim, 17 Papuan Air Force pilots and ground crew have been training in Israel to fly and maintain the planes.