Recently, Secunderabad-based Premier Explosives signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to explore potential business opportunities. IAI is Israel’s largest aerospace and defence firm, and it specialises in developing and manufacturing advanced systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. IAI also designs and manufactures business jets and aero structures.
The agreement is set to leverage India’s operation of the Barak-8 medium-range self-propelled surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, which was designed by IAI in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
At the end of last year, the Indian Navy said it had a much-needed missile defence shield for its frontline warships, following successful testing of an Indo-Israeli system. The Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM), called the Barak NG, had undergone a series of tests from INS Kolkata.
The Barak NGs were fired at ‘expendable aerial targets’, also known as remotely piloted unmanned rockets, in a repeat of the tests that were carried out earlier from an Israeli warship in the Mediterranean Sea in the presence of Indian military scientists.
In September 2015, the Centre also approved the purchase of 10 Israeli-made armed Heron drones for around $400 million. The drones will be operated by the Indian Air Force, and would join its fleet of reconnaissance drones. The Indian Air Force also has a fleet of Harpy unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, which are primarily used to destroy enemy radar positions.
With an estimated $10 billion spend over the past decade, India is the biggest buyer of Israel’s defence products.
India imported defence equipment worth 1,296.21 crore from Israel in 2011-12. This slipped to 774.54 crore in 2012-13, and went up slightly to 1,234.65 crore in 2013-14.
Daniel Carmon, Isreal’s ambassador to India, while addressing a gathering at the Defense ‘Make in India’ Summit in Delhi at the Sam Manekshaw Center said, “The partnership with India is not just ‘another option’, it is almost a necessity today.” He went on to add, “In times when defence forces modify operations and recalibrate their way forward; in times when many militaries are becoming smaller by size but stronger by force, it is important to be innovative. It is crucial to optimise our effort…which brings down production costs and developments costs. And it leaves you with more advanced capabilities than what you could have had by going alone.”
Make in India
Stating that Israel has been following the Indian government’s initiative of ‘Make in India’, Carmon said Israel’s Defence Minister was in India last year and held extensive talks on the matter.
The Ambassador went on to add, “We have proven more than once in the past that we are open for the concept of transfer of advanced high technology and joint development. Both our governments as well as the Israeli companies that are implementing the projects, are ready to engage in this venture.”