“We are Always Keen on How to Create a Win-win Partnership with Local Indian Companies”

Aero India, Aero India 2023

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been playing a pivotal role in further strengthening India and Israel defence cooperation.

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In a candid conversation with Editor, Raksha Anirveda at Aero India 2023, Vitaly Kakuivicki, Head of Marketing and Sales APAC, ELTA Systems Ltd (IAI subsidiary) spoke lucidly about IAI’s collaboration with Indian defence industry till date, company’s future strategy, participation in Aero India and more. Edited excerpts-

Q: How have been the first two days at the Aero India for IAI and what has been your observation?
A: On the opening day, February 13 after the inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was business hours for half a day but we had some visitors.
On the second day, February 14, it was crowded and we received interest from the Armed Forces for our products and had meetings with the Deputy Chief and Vice Chief of the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF).
At every DefExpo and the current Aero India Show which are held biennially, there is a lot of interest in our products.
There is immense scope for collaboration in the Defence sector between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India’s aerospace industry.
I am very happy to see local market improving with local industries making significant progress. We are indeed happy to see synergy between IAI and the local industries to integrate our capabilities and technologies in partnership and also developing co-solutions with the armed forces of this country.
This year we are bringing to Aero India 2023 our most advanced technologies in the domains of EW and Radars, such as the SCORPIUS System which is one of the most innovative EW system today and we are most happy to present it in India as we found it to be one of the countries that is most mature for this technology as a user and as an industry partner.
We have been operating in India for a few decades with our radars and other defence capabilities and we are very happy to be here.

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Q: Your company is signing MOUs with several Indian companies like Public Sector Undertakings like BEL and HAL.
A: We are signing a MOU with Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) during this show for co-production of airborne Radars as part of the Make in India policy of the Indian government.
IAI was one of the first players in this domain of developing and manufacturing defence equipment in India even before the “Make in India,” policy was announced.
We are very happy to collaborate with DPSUs like HAL to manufacture our systems for the armed forces.

Q: Any plan for co-development of technologies with Indian partners?
A: We are always keen on having Indian partners and on how to create a win-win situation and to improve our local presence and support. We just recently have established here a maintenance company to provide better support and working with several DPSUs as also private companies and are looking for future partnerships.

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Q: Which Indian company are you looking for partnership both in public and private sector?
A: We are working with HAL for Airborne Radars and EW for the IAF and happy to take part in the prestigious LCA program. We have a very good relationship with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and we are working together on different domains and particularly on Radars – sea borne and ground based. Not only radars, we are very happy to work with L&T on other turnkey solutions technology wise and they are very good at it. Management wise, they are a company with whom we can blend our activities.

Q: Israel has a unique partnership with the US. Do you think that kind of relationship can be worked out with India in the defence sector?
A: I’m not in a details regarding US, but as you know IAI is a government-owned and a Major player in the Israeli defence echo system. We are always happy to work with Indian local partners for development of unique technologies like the DRDO and some other organizations.
India is one of our key partners and we have been working with organisations like the DRDO.

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Q. India’s Aatmanirbharta drive and Make in India for the world has not only gathered momentum, it has also started resonating world wide as more nations have started focussing on self-reliance in defence. Your viewpoints.
A. India is the role model, a pioneer as far self-reliance concept is concerned. It has been inspirational to many countries as we are witnessing uncertainty due to lots of churns going on in geo-politics, disruption of supply chains. Every nations needs stability to safeguard itself and remain stronger technology wise.
India is growing very fast.We are here to enhance our capabilities,leverage partnership to develop future technological capabilities with our local partners.

It’s heartening to observe India’s immense capabilities now which it didn’t have before. The growth trajectory of tech capabilities and vibrant ecosystem needs to be further strengthened. And IAI is here, always to play it’s role to help India realise it’s aatmanirbharta in defence.

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