TEL AVIV (Jul. 29)
McDonnell Douglas Corp., the giant U.S. aircraft manufacturer, has announced it will step up its purchases in Israel to the tune of some $550 million.
The St. Louis-based company is not demanding a quid pro quo, but is clearly hoping that Israel will decide to purchase its fighter and civilian aircraft.
Larry Bertino, head of the firm’s international cooperation department, who is currently visiting Israel, said Sunday that McDonnell Douglas had made a “strategic decision” to enlarge and increase its business transactions with Israeli industries.
At a news conference held jointly with officials of Israeli aircraft manufacturers, Bertino said part of the plan is to commission Bedek, a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries, to improve DC-9 commercial jets.
IAI, meanwhile, will be prime contractor for manufacturing the wings for the MD-11 passenger plane, Bertino said.
The plan also calls for the Israeli firm Elbit to supply McDonnell Douglas with systems for the T-45 training jet.
Bertino stressed that the decision was based on his company’s high regard for the quality of Israeli aviation-systems industries.
He also said the deal was not made conditional on Israel purchasing McDonnell Douglas F-18 fighter jets or on E1 A1, Israel’s national air carrier, purchasing its MD-11 passenger planes.
But the American firm is said to be interested in persuading Israel to purchase both aircraft types.