Interview with Eli Alfassi, Eli Alfassi- EVP Marketing, IAI

Eli Alfassi- EVP Marketing, IAI

Vayu: We last interacted on the eve of Defexpo 2018 and one point you had brought up was: “True partnership paves the way for IAI in India”. Can you tell us about the continuing progress of IAI in India?

Eli : Successful teamwork is a critical aspect of a strategic endeavor and IAI has proved its partnership and support through decades of cooperation in India– in joint research, development, integration, testing to technology and work sharing.  IAI is engaged in collaborations with many local companies and works with various defence agencies, Navy, Air Force, Army and the Coast Guard.  We are expected to expand our collaborations with local leading companies in order to integrate strategic state-of-the-art systems for India’s Ministry of Defence in various fields, and in accordance with the Make in India policy.

Vayu: What are some of the major projects that IAI is involved with in India and especially with relevance to ‘Make in India’?

Eli : IAI has been working with Indian defence industries and the armed forces for the past 25 years, as part of strategic collaboration in a variety of fields.  The company is engaged in collaborations with many local companies and works with defence agencies such as the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force and Army. Our joint-development projects include the MRSAM air defence system in its maritime and land-based versions, mission aircraft, various radar systems and UAVs. All the collaboration agreements are based on the transfer of technology for the benefit of local production as part of the Indian government’s Make in India policy.

Vayu: On the missile front for the Indian Navy, how is the joint venture to produce the Barak coming along? And on the MRSAM programme along with DRDO, BDL and BEL?

MRSAM is an advanced air and missile defence system, a unique joint development by IAI and DRDO and various Indian companies including Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Larsen and Toubro, Bharat Dynamics (BDL) and several private Indian companies.  The MRSAM air and missile defence system is operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defence Forces and in the near future with the Indian Army.  Recent contracts we signed, to be executed with the Indian Navy, will be carried out, with the BEL Bharat Electronics Limited, which serves as the main contractor in these projects. 

Vayu: Is IAI pushing for the sale of more advanced UAV’s to the Indian Armed Forces? Currently India uses various IAI UAVs such as the Searcher, Heron and Harpy’s: any new sales and upgrades on the existing airframes?

Eli : IAI is a global leader in the design, development, and manufacture of UAV'sThe Heron family, with over 40 years' of experience and more than 1,600,000 operational flight hours, performing intelligence gathering and targeting missions in support of key military operations around the world,  Our UAV's and loitering munitions systems are combat proven in more than 20 customers worldwide.  IAI will continue to support our existing customers worldwide, introducing additional state of the arts sensors and technologies. 

Vayu: Finally, what is the theme of IAI at Aero India 2019?

Eli : A leading global defence company, IAI addresses the unique challenges of national defence and homeland security with technologically advanced and operationally proven solutions.  In Aero India 2019 IAI will present some of the latest and most advanced aerospace and defense solutions, featuring the latest technologies in military aviation, air defence and missiles systems, unmanned systems, special mission aircraft, radars and cyber technology.

Among the systems on display are the operationally proven air defence systems MRSAM, special mission aircraft, the Heron TP, the largest platform IAI’s family of advanced unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Satellites, radars, Loitering munitions systems, EO surveillance systems, Strategic, HPR and tactical radars, advanced mission systems for helicopters are only some of the highlights of IAI’s display at Aero India 2019.