Israel Aerospace Industries Shomer

When in the early 1960s the United States began the development of the AWACS aircraft with a large rotating radar disk mounted on the top of the fuselage, the Israeli government tried to persuade the Americans to sell a number of these aircraft to Israel. The Johnson administration however refused to sell this advanced technology to foreign powers.


The Israeli managed to obtain the radar technology using a female spy who entered into a relation with an employee from Westinghouse. They copied the radar equipment but needed an aircraft to mount it on. The Israeli version of the radar used a slightly smaller rotating antenna than the US original, so they could use a smaller aircraft than the C-135 which formed the basis of the USAF E-3 Sentry. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) proposed using Vickers Viscount Airliners which were readily available on the second hand market.


In 1970 twelve Vanguard were procured and converted by IAI. This included fairing over all cabin windows and adding small vertical stabilizers to the tail.

The aircraft were named Shomer (Guardian) and entered service in 1972.They were used in the Yom Kippur War to direct the Israeli Air Force against invading Israeli Air Space.


In 2005 the Israeli Air Force purchased five Gulfstream G550-based Eitam aircraft to serve as the new IDF platform for its newer generation of AEW systems replacing the Shomer.

Last updated: 27/09/2017