Our Approach of “Value Proposition” to India Includes Production & Technology Transfer for Domestic Needs: Rafael President and CEO

Interviews

Yoav Har-Even is President and CEO of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd (RADS). Before joining Rafael in 2015, he served in Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for 34 years in various capacities including the Head of IDF’s Operations Directorate. Prior to that, he was commander of the 319th Division and head of the GOC Army Headquarters.

In an exclusive interview to Arie Egozi, International Roving Correspondent, Raksha Anirveda, Yoav Har-Even, President and CEO of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, threw light on Rafael Defense’s strategic tie ups in India, and the company’s futuristic plan of expansion to be in sync with Make in India program. Edited excerpts:

 

What is the importance of the Indian market for Rafael?
For over 20 years, RAFAEL has stood side-by-side with India and its armed forces, and has regarded the Indian industries and the various branches of the military as partners. As such, RAFAEL has provided the most advanced systems that give India the much needed force multiplier to carry out its missions in facing current and future challenges. The systems that Rafael provides are combat proven and integrate easily with Indian military platforms.

Rafael has a rich history of collaboration with India’s defense industries, resulting in multiple joint ventures, subsidiaries, and strategic tie-ups with leading DPSUs. These partnerships, over past two decades, have led Rafael to invest over US$250 million in the country through its Make in India initiative

Rafael has a rich history of collaboration with India’s defense industries, resulting in multiple joint ventures, subsidiaries, and strategic tie-ups with leading DPSUs. These partnerships, over past two decades, have led Rafael to invest over US$250 million in the country through its Make in India initiative.

 

Can you tell us what is the total annual value of Rafael in the Indian market?
We are not able to provide numbers, however I can say that our activity is cross-service, and that we have received orders for a variety of solutions required to address current and future needs of the Indian military, and that we are doing so in full cooperation with the different entities involved, as well as with our industrial partners in the country.

 

How is the company getting ready for further tightening of the Make in India policy? Are activities such as the establishment of subsidiaries in India planned within this framework?

Rafael has been a long-standing defence partner of India and has displayed in action its growing interest in Make in India. It has already shown its commitment to local production, knowledge transfer and industrial cooperation, having already worked with different branches of the Indian armed forces and Indian security institutions and been successful in providing them with state-of-the-art systems in various operational contingencies, including air-to-air, air defence, ATGMs, targeting and reconnaissance pods, SDR communication etc.

Rafael Spyder Air Defense System

Over time RAFAEL has also signed joint venture contracts with leading Indian defence companies like Kalyani Group (KRAS) and Astra Microwave (Astra Rafael Communication System). These strategic technology partnerships and joint ventures have led towards substantial and effective transfer of technology to India, enhancement of local production and skills, building and working on projects with superior calibre, and have laid the necessary infrastructure to facilitate export activity. This kind of activity has widened supply chains, and is playing an important role in supporting India’s economic stance, especially post-Corona, creating employment, and bolstering its efforts to become a significant exporter of technology.

 

Will Rafael be willing to transfer technologies to India?
Not only is Rafael willing to do so, it has actually done so, and was the first international company to transfer technology to India. Rafael continuously works to form JVs and industrial cooperation in line with the Make in India policy. Rafael has been working steadily to create Technology Partnerships or Joint Ventures with major Indian companies to address various projects and has created structures to ensure technological transfer to India, which will also serve as an important pillar in propelling India to be part of a global export supply chain.

Our approach of “Value Proposition” to India includes Production & Technology transfer for domestic needs and along with our partners we are exploring potential export markets.

Armed Force’s personnel in action with SPIKE ATGM
Not only is Rafael willing to do so, it has actually done so, and was the first international company to transfer technology to India. Rafael continuously works to form JVs and industrial cooperation in line with the Make in India policy

In what sections of the Indian market does Rafael see the biggest potential?
India presents immense potential in every techno-military aspect, and Rafael is there to address these needs and requirements, spanning from air defense, with systems such as the SPYDER, tactical missiles for all services and platforms, ground, air and naval, with our SPIKE ATGM’s, broadband communication with the Bnet SDR technology, aerial systems ranging from air-to-air missiles to ISR and attach pods (Reccelite and Litening), air-to-ground munition (SPICE) naval systems to provide 360 degree protection for vessels, including the Barak 1 naval defense system, and many more. One of our advantages is the ability to tailor-make solutions to match the user’s specific requirements, and the ability to deliver our products quickly, without making any quality compromises.

 

Has there been greater competition in the Indian market recently, especially from American companies that have realized the potential?
Competition has been intense for many years now, and certainly now with defense budgets becoming less certain for the coming years, companies all over the world are competing for their share in the international market, and that obviously includes India. Rafael is well-positioned due to more than 20 years of cooperation with our Indian partners, our diverse portfolio, which makes us a reliable one-stop-shop, and of course our willingness and proven track record of establishing local cooperation in the way of technology transfer and local manufacturing.

Kalyani Group CMD Baba Kalyani with Rafael Defense executive during an agreement

Is India a potential market for upgrades and if it is how is the company getting ready to enter this section of the market?
There is certainly going to be an upward trend in countries leaning towards upgrading their platforms, and less procurement of new platforms. This was true before COVID-19 and it has been amplified due to the crisis.

Rafael’s track record in platform upgrades is well-known, and in the past few years we have been selected for a number of upgrade programs around the world, both for helicopters and land-based platforms. Our rich portfolio, along with our multi-disciplinary engineering capabilities, experience and local presence (JVs), offer significant value both in terms of dialog with the user, and our ability to tailor-make solutions to fit their requirements.

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