Oron is a wide-area persistent surveillance and multisensor aircraft. Credit: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.
The Oron aircraft enables real-time surveillance over large areas on land and sea. Credit: IAI.
The IAF's 122nd Nachshon Squadron operates the Oron mission aircraft. Credit: IMOD.
The Oron mission aircraft is based on the Gulfstream G550 aircraft. Credit: Amit Agronov/IDF Spokesperson's Unit/CC BY-SA 3.0/commons.wikimedia.org.

Oron is a wide-area persistent surveillance and multisensor aircraft developed for the Israeli Air Force (IAF). It is the world’s first aircraft of its kind.

The Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) within the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD), the IAF’s radar company ELTA Group, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Intelligence Directorate, the Israeli Navy, and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) collaborated on developing the aircraft.

The DDR&D has been leading the development of the Oron mission systems for more than nine years. The systems are designed to transmit invaluable data directly to the intelligence units.

The Oron aircraft is part of the lineage of strategic special mission aircraft that IAI has supplied to Israel’s defence forces over the past two decades, including the Eitam airborne early warning and control and Shavit signals intelligence aircraft.

In April 2024, the DDR&D announced that the Oron spy plane completed approximately 100 missions and logged hundreds of flight hours during the conflict with Hamas in Gaza, Palestine, also known as the Swords of Iron War.

Oron mission aircraft design and features

The Oron aircraft is a modified version of the Gulfstream G550 aircraft, which is known for its superior flight performance and low maintenance costs.

Gulfstream’s engineers modified the aircraft’s exterior and flight deck while the production team constructed the surveillance platform within specialised modification facilities dedicated to special missions in Savannah, Georgia, US.

The Gulfstream G550 aircraft has a finished cabin height of 1.88m, a finished cabin width of 2.31m, and an overall wingspan of 26.31m.

It boasts a maximum range of 9,816km, a maximum operating Mach number of Mach 0.925 and a maximum cruise altitude of 15,545m.

The G550 has a maximum take-off weight of 36,106kg and a maximum payload capacity of 2,381kg.

Equipped with high-thrust engines, the G550 is 33% more fuel-efficient than previous-generation aircraft. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW814GA engines, each having a rated take-off thrust of 67.36kN.

Oron mission aircraft development history

Gulfstream Aerospace, an aircraft maker based in the US and a subsidiary of General Dynamics, supplied a special missions Gulfstream G550 aircraft to the IAF in April 2021. The IAI delivered the Oron mission aircraft to the IDF during the same month.

In August 2021, the Oron aircraft landed for the first time at Nevatim Airbase, an IAF base near Beersheba in the Negev desert. The IAF’s 122nd Nachshon Squadron operates the Oron aircraft, enhancing the IAF’s operational advantage and intelligence capabilities.

Test flights for the Oron aircraft commenced in August 2023 in cooperation with the DDR&D, IDF, and IAI.

The successful integration of intelligence systems into the Oron aircraft was also announced during the same month.

The aircraft progressed to the joint test flight phase with the IAF and IAI for final delivery to the IAF.

Oron mission aircraft capabilities

The Oron aircraft incorporates state-of-the-art sensors, and innovative data processing and advanced radio detection and ranging systems developed by IAI, which enable real-time surveillance over large areas on land and sea, regardless of weather or visibility conditions.

Built upon insights gained from previous conflicts handled by the IDF and MOD, the Oron boasts a data processing mechanism driven by advanced data science and artificial intelligence capabilities that provide actionable insights in real time.

The aircraft’s advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems can produce comprehensive, real-time intelligence assessments during routine and operational activities.

The assessments include a detailed analysis of enemy forces and terrorist organisations deployed at both short and long ranges.