TEL AVIV — State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) stands to win a major Israel Army contract for its TopGun, a precision guidance kit that converts standard 155mm artillery shells into precision munitions.
A recently retired Defense Ministry official told Defense News on Wednesday that IAI was selected months ago in the high-stakes competition over Rokar, a Jerusalem-based subsidiary of BAE Systems. Roker is now appealing the decision and still hopes the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Ground Command will reconsider in favor of its Silver Bullet solution, defense and industry sources say.
"The bid is concluded. IAI won with TopGun. But it's in the phase of appeals, so the whole thing remains sensitive," an IDF officer told Defense News.
IAI declined comment when asked about the IDF decision. Similarly, Yisrael Latovitz, vice president for marketing at Rokar, said the company would not comment until the competition is fully concluded.
"The process is still ongoing. Until it's over, it isn't over," Latovitz said.
Once concluded, the Israeli contract could exceed $100 million over the next decade, with many more hundreds of millions anticipated in export sales.
The officer said "significant funding" has been earmarked in the IDF's current five-year Plan Gideon for production and initial deployment with the Artillery Corps.
Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at www.opall-rome.com.