“True Part­ner­ship paves the way for IAI in In­dia” Vayu in dis­cus­sion with Eli Al­fassi of IAI

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence Inindia -

Over the past three decades, In­dia and Is­rael have es­tab­lished strong and friendly re­la­tions that span tech­nol­ogy, space, agri­cul­ture and tourism. But de­fence co­op­er­a­tion has dom­i­nated from the start, boost­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries to new heights. As Is­rael’s leading aerospace and de­fence con­glom­er­ate, Is­rael Aerospace In­dus­tries (IAI) has led many joint pro­grammes evolv­ing with In­dia, pro­vid­ing ae­rial re­fu­el­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, un­manned ae­rial sys­tems (UAS), air­borne early warn­ing air­craft, var­i­ous radars and many other de­fence sys­tems and ca­pa­bil­i­ties. To­day, sys­tems and prod­ucts devel­oped and pro­duced by IAI are op­er­a­tional with the air, land and naval ser­vices of In­dia, along with other gov­ern­ment agen­cies. From the be­gin­ning, IAI was open and ready to co­op­er­ate with In­dian com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions and have lever­aged this part­ner­ship to ex­pand and win new busi­ness.”

One of the leading pro­grammes that IAI is cur­rently pur­su­ing is the Medium Range Sur­face- Air Mis­sile sys­tem ( MRSAM). Launched in 2006 to be­come the prin­ci­pal air de­fence sys­tem for the In­dian and Is­rael navies, MRSAM was grad­u­ally adopted by other cus­tomers and is now es­tab­lished as a world leading three-ser­vice air de­fence sys­tems.

Over the 12- year de­vel­op­ment, MRSAM sets an ex­am­ple for a suc­cess­ful joint pro­gramme. Ini­tially the joint de­vel­op­ment phase was led by IAI, while the pro­duc­tion, in­te­gra­tion, de­liv­ery and test­ing was man­aged by the In­dian part­ners – the De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) and Bharat Elec­tron­ics Lim­ited (BEL).

To­day, MRSAM rep­re­sents much more than the naval air de­fence sys­tem it was. The sys­tem has evolved into a long range, wide area air de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity adopted by the In­dian Air Force for the de­fense of fixed sites and re­lo­cat­able, ex­tended air de­fense ca­pa­bil­ity to be op­er­ated by the In­dian Army. All three In­dian ser­vices, as well as Is­raeli and other op­er­a­tors, op­er­ate sys­tems based on a com­mon core that was devel­oped un­der co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the DRDO and IAI; each con­fig­u­ra­tion was de­signed, adapted and tuned to best meet the spe­cific ser­vice re­quire­ments and utilise the re­sources and ca­pa­bil­i­ties al­ready in­vested in the sys­tem. “This is an un­prece­dented un­der­tak­ing, where such in­dige­nous, cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy is har­nessed to pro­vide for the needs of mul­ti­ple In­dian and Is­raeli users.” IAI Ex­ec­u­tive VP Mar­ket­ing, Eli Al­fassi stated.

Ac­cord­ing to Al­fassi, the MRSAM pro­ject is also an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of joint de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion that fully en­dorses the strate­gic ‘ Make In In­dia’ vi­sion. “Since the be­gin­ning, the pro­gramme em­braced a true co­op­er­a­tion and part­ner­ship and has im­ple­mented the spirit of ‘Make In In­dia’ vi­sion, even be­fore this pol­icy came into ef­fect,” Al­fassi said. Through the past decade, the pro­gramme has ex­panded to take new chal­lenges, grad­u­ally in­creas­ing the In­dian work­share as the In­dian part­ners as­sume a grow­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion.

A ma­jor mile­stone in the pro­gramme was as­sign­ing Bharat Elec­tron­ics Lim­ited (BEL) as the prime con­trac­tor and lead in­te­gra­tor for the up­com­ing naval pro­grammes. In this role, BEL is also re­spon­si­ble for the highly com­plex ac­cep­tance tests at sea, clear­ing the MRSAM sys­tems on each and ev­ery ves­sel that re­ceives the sys­tem. An­other ma­jor part­ner, Bharat Dy­nam­ics Lim­ited (BDL) is the in­te­gra­tor for the in­ter­cep­tor mis­siles that equip the MRSAM sys­tems.

“Aligned with the evolv­ing In­dian poli­cies, as part of the off­set obli­ga­tions, we have been buy­ing In­dian sub­sys­tems and ser­vices worth nearly $800 mil­lions from 80 In­dian sup­pli­ers. We in­tend to in­crease our work here, adding more In­dian sup­pli­ers in the fu­ture,” Eli Al­fassi noted. IAI, Dy­na­mat­ics Tech­nolo­gies Lim­ited and Sun Group are work­ing to es­tab­lish a JV for UAVs, seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in this field. An­other planned JV with Mahin­dra ad­dresses the field of de­fence elec­tron­ics, radars and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and a third, with Bharat Forge Lim­ited ( BFL), will seek op­por­tu­ni­ties in smart mu­ni­tions - pro­grammes in­volv­ing mis­siles, guided pro­jec­tiles and loi­ter­ing mu­ni­tions.

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