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The Israeli Aircraft Industries Arava (Hebrew: עֲרָבָה, "Willow" or "Steppe" of "Desert", named after the Aravah of the Jordan Rift Valley) is a light STOL utility transport aircraft built in Israel by IAI in the late 1960s.

Arava Hatzerim 050804.jpg
IAI Arava at the Israeli Air Force Museum
Role Transport
Manufacturer Israeli Aircraft Industries
First flight 27 November 1969
Status Active
Primary users Israeli Air Force
14 other militaries
Produced 1972–1988
Number built 103
Unit cost
$450,000 (U.S.) in 1971

The Arava was IAI's first major aircraft design to enter production. It was intended both for the military and civil market, but the aircraft was only built in relatively small numbers. The customers were found mainly in third world countries, especially in Central and South America as well as Swaziland and Thailand.


Design and developmentEdit

The design work on the Arava began in 1965, and the design objectives included STOL performance, the ability to operate from rough strips and carry 20 passengers or bulky payloads.[1]

The Arava's fuselage was barrel-like, short but wide, and the rear of the fuselage was hinged and could swing open for easy loading and unloading. Its wingspan was long and the twin tails were mounted on booms that ran from the engine nacelles. It was fitted with a fixed nosewheel undercarriage to save weight, while the chosen powerplant was two 715 eshp (533 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprops.[2] The design configuration was similar to French Nord Noratlas transport plane, used at that time by Israeli air force.

The first prototype Arava made its maiden flight on 27 November 1969, after 92 flights it was destroyed when a wing strut experienced flutter and failed during flight testing on 19 November 1970.[3] The second prototype flew for the first time on 8 May 1971.[3][4] In October 1973 three aircraft were leased for use by Squadron 122 in the Yom Kippur War,[5][6] but were returned afterwards. The Israeli Air Force did not purchase the aircraft until 1983, when nine aircraft were bought.[5] Production ended in 1988; only 103 Arava aircraft were produced [5], including 70 for the military market. The IAF decided in 2004 to retire the aircraft.[5] It is still in operation in some countries.


IAI 101
Civil-transport version
IAI 101A
Civil transport version, one built
IAI 101B
Civil transport version
IAI 102
Civil passenger aircraft for up to 20 people in airline-standard configuration or up to 12 passengers in VIP configuration
IAI 102B
Civil transport version
IAI 201
Military transport version
IAI 202
Modified, variant with winglets and an APU
IAI 203
Proposed jet-powered version, not built.
IAI 301
Proposed Turbomeca Astazou powered variant, not built.
IAI 401
Proposed larger variant with PT-6A engines, not built.

The military version could also be equipped with a range of weapons, in order to act in anti-submarine- or gunship roles. The weapon configuration could include two machine guns in fuselage side packs (usually 0.5" Browning), plus a third gun on the rear fuselage, and two pods containing 6 x 82 mm rocket pods or torpedoes or sonar buoys on the fuselage sides.

Another less known military version is the 202B Electronic warfare model. This version was made in small numbers, and had distinct large radomes at each end of the fuselage. The radomes contained the Electronic Warfare mission systems.


IAI Arava operators
IAI Arava displayed at the Royal Thai Air Force Museum
  • Bolivian Air Force – Six purchased 1975–76. One seized by Nicaragua during delivery, one in use 1987.[7]
  El Salvador
  Papua New Guinea

Specifications (IAI 201)Edit

Arava 201 of the El Salvador Air Force displayed at the 1975 Paris Air Show prior to delivery

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83.[16]

General characteristics


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cohen 1974, p. 57.
  2. ^ Cohen 1974, pp. 57, 59.
  3. ^ a b Cohen 1974, p. 59.
  4. ^ Air Progress: 22. October 1971. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d John Pike. "IAI-201 Arava". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  6. ^ "122 Squadron – The Dakota".
  7. ^ Siegrist 1987, p. 176.
  8. ^ "Photos: Israel Aircraft Industries IAI-201 Arava Aircraft Pictures -". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  9. ^ WebInfomil. "IAI ARAVA 201". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  10. ^ a b Hoyle 2015, p. 37.
  11. ^ a b Hoyle 2015, p. 39.
  12. ^ Hoyle 2015, p. 45.
  13. ^ Pocock 1986, p. 115.
  14. ^ Hoyle 2015, p. 50.
  15. ^ Hoyle 2015, p. 53.
  16. ^ Taylor 1982, pp. 123–124.