Northrop F-5 fighter jet
Northrop F-5 fighter jetUnited States Army

The world-leading Israeli defense company Elbit Systems announced Wednesday that it has been awarded contracts from an unnamed Asian country for roughly $85 million, as Israel's Asian ties continue to blossom.

Most of the contract is for an avionics upgrade program to the American-made Northrop F-5 fighter jet, and the rest is for the supply of electro-optic and communications systems, in a deal that will be carried out over the course of three years.

"Asia-Pacific is a very important market for Elbit Systems, and we are pleased to be awarded further programs in the region," said Elbit President and CEO Bezhalel Machlis.

Machlis continued "we are proud to have been selected to perform this aircraft upgrade program, building on our vast know-how and experience in F-5 avionics modernization projects. We have witnessed a growing demand for upgrades of this nature, and we trust that further customers will follow, benefiting from a mature aircraft upgraded with market leading technologies."

While the contracting country was left unnamed, the F-5 is currently widely in use both in China and South Korea.

In the midst of European and American diplomatic pressure, Israel has recently been increasingly strengthening its ties with Asian nations, including China and Japan. Last December it was revealed that Israel is seeking to challenge US limitations on defense exports to China.

The F-5 is an agile fighter jet that has been in use for over four decades, in such nations as the United States, Switzerland, Norway and Brazil.

Elbit Systems has performed various F-5 upgrades in the past, supplying mission computers, advanced glass cockpits featuring 3-color displays and operational capabilities, as well as the DASH IV Helmet, Weapon Delivery and Navigation Systems, Electronic Warfare suites, radars, flight simulators, spares and ground support equipment.