Interview with Giora Katz, Executive Vice President Marketing & Business Development, Rafael Advanced Systems Limited at Defexpo – 2016, Goa, 30 March 2016
What isnyour impression of this Defexpo?
Katz: This Defexpo at Goa has thus far been a very pleasurable experience. Goa is a beautiful place and me and my team have enjoyed the warm hospitality of people here. Local and MoD officials have done a great job. They have been able to organise this event on a grand scale in a short time. I complement them.
What are your broad plans and strategy for Indian defence sector?
Katz: Rafael is an old established player in India. Rafael believes in team efforts. When I say team, I mean partnerships with Indian entities in trues sense of the term. We have always had a win-win situation in India for the very simple reason that we believe in joint development, manufacturing and sell. We have come with an impressive set of very advanced items for Indian customers. As part of our strategy to expand our international partnerships and strengthen its ties with local companies in India, we present the following systems at partners' booths: SPIKE MR+SIMULATOR (at BDL), SAMSON 30mm Advanced Remote Weapon stations (RWS) designed for high performance and survivability with SPIKE LR – Precision Missile Systems (at Bharat Forge Limited), PROTECTOR Unmanned Surface Vehicle + Typhoon and mini-Typhoon naval RWS (at Reliance Defence / Pipavav), BNET SDR FAMILY - Broadband MANET IP Software-Defined Radio for ground and air applications and TacMAX - family of base, relay and mobile stations delivers high quality broadband video, data and voice services to ground forces. (at Astra Microwave Limited). In addition, we have displayed the following items: Trophy heavy vehicle (the world's only combat-proven Active Protection System for armored vehicles), Samson 30mm Advanced Remote Weapon stations (RWS) designed for high performance and survivability with SPIKE LR – Precision Missile Systems, Spyder SR/MR – Family of Short and Medium Range Air Defense systems using the i-Derby and Python-5 missiles and Spike family - Multi-Purpose, Tactical, Guided-Missile Systems (including a Helicopter Simulator), Python-5 - Full sphere air-to-air IR missile and air defense missile, I-Derby – Beyond-Visual-Range, SDR seeker, air-to-air and air defense missile, I-Derby ER – Innovative active radar air-to-air missile. The missile incorporates the innovative I-Derby software-defined RF seeker, combined with a unique increase of kinematic performance, with ranges of up to 100 km, C-Dome - Active Air Defense for ships and other naval and land assets, Naval EW systems, Sea Spotter - Naval IR Staring and Tracking system (IRST) and Toplite EOS - Electro-Optical Surveillance, Observation & Targeting System. You will find all these impressive items at our stall as well as our partners’ stalls. Our intention is not selling alone, it goes beyond and includes partnerships.
You talked about joint development and manufacturing. Does it include joint design as well? Are you willing to share your design expertise with Indians?
Katz: When I say ‘joint development’, it includes ‘joint design’ as well. Yes, we share our knowledge with Indian teams.
You have an established relationship with DRDO. What plans do you envisage further with DRDO?
Katz: Yes, we have excellent relationship with DRDO for a long time. DRDO is a wonderful professional organization and I can tell you their technological knowledge is excellent and world class. We, being a technology dependent company, we obviously jell well with our counterparts in DRDO. We intend to further intensify our relationship and we are discussing all possibilities. I would not like to divulge into details. Our policy is not to reveal things unless our partners do.
What kind of partnerships do you have with Indian private companies?
Katz: We are a unique company, a 100 percent government owned entity with many national R&D centers in Israel and highly technology driven with commercial orientations. Our pride is our superior technological capabilities. We prefer all kinds of partnerships. In India, we have partnered Bharat Forge (for land systems), Reliance Defence (for air defence systems as well as naval applications with Pipavav, now a Reliance company), Astra Microwave Limited (for communication systems and EW systems), Bharat Dynamics Limited (for Spike missile system), Mahindras (for FICV), Bharat Electronics Limited (for various EW systems). Reliance Defence has already identified a site for manufacturing of air defence system in Madhya Pradesh. We are also talking to a few more Indian companies, but as I said earlier, it would not be proper for me to divulge further details.