The demand for weapons has grown world over following the Ukraine-Russia war and this is something that will reflect in the defence budgets, Maj Gen (retd) Yoav Har-Even, CEO of Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems told WION. Rafael has been offering various weapons and weapon systems to the Indian Armed Forces for more than 25 years and the firm now hopes to export the missiles that they make in India. The Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile, the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile(MRSAM) and Spice guidance kits for air dropped bombs are a few Rafael systems used by India.
Speaking to WION on the sidelines of the roll out of the 100th MRSAM from the Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems(KRAS) Indo-Israeli facility in Hyderabad, Har-Even said that Rafael has been working in India for more than 25 years. “Five years ago, we got the vision from the Indian Prime Minister for Make-in-India and we joined with the Kalyani group to establish KRAS and make the private sector a relevant player in the defence industry” he said.
On the plans to export made-in-India missiles and technology to foreign customers, he said that it would be possible once large quantity of production is achieved and the hardware is first inducted in adequate numbers into the Indian Armed forces. He indicated that there is a lot of potential to export made-in-India missiles and hardware, which is jointly developed with Rafael. The Israeli-firm is looking to export such hardware to their customers around the world.
Queried about the future projects of Rafael, he said that the company had a heritage of developing the ‘Trophy’ active protection system for battle tanks, ‘Spike’ family of anti-tank guided missile, Iron Dome Missile system and ‘Litening’ electro-optic targeting pod. “We are now developing and producing the next-gen of all the missiles, electro-optic and communications systems, these are all relevant to the Indian market. Once the customer decides that they want certain capabilities, we are ready to not only sell, but to produce and do some of the development in India. This is our vision and we are going to do it” he said.
While Har-Even agreed that the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war had caused production slowdown of defence hardware and some shortages, he said that it had also led to an increased demand for weapons and that Rafael would be ready to meet the demand. “What has happened in the commercial world(supply-chain) issues has influenced all of us, but we will overcome” he said.