Elbit Systems: Aiming High in India’s Defense Market

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Betzalel 'Butzi' Machlis
Betzalel ‘Butzi’ Machlis

India is an important market for each of our divisions.” Elbit Systems President and CEO Bezhalel Butzi Machlis told Vayu, “We have established here a number of joint ventures, with public and private sector units.” To thrive in this market you have to believe in it play for the long run Machlis explains in an exclusive interview for Defense-Update.com and Vayu Aerospace.

The government requirement to limit foreign ownership of JVs to 26 percent is also a tough one, but sofar Machlis said Elbit has managed to cope. “ These JVs enable us to merge our technologies and systems, tailoring the right operational solution to meet the customer’s requirements. I hope that we’ll be able to increase our share in the future, if new policy is implemented. It will enable us to bring more technology and know how, and bring even more capabilities to these JVs. “ Machlis said.

“We sees artillery far beyond the barrel and projectile, since artillery is perfectly weaved into Elbit Systems’ core competencies”

An example for such a successful cooperation is in the field of artillery – one of the most promising areas for Elbit Systems in India, and one where Machlis says Elbit Systems is bringing a unique value to the table.

“We sees artillery far beyond the barrel and projectile, since artillery is perfectly weaved into Elbit Systems’ core competencies. On one hand, these systems blend clear operational requirements, accurate ballistics, and measurable data and orderly procedures that can be transformed into effective and streamlined mechanized and computerized processes. “ Machlis noted.

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“What we can offer is to take this transformation to the next level – through networking and integration with modern command and control, yielding dramatic operational benefit. In fact, a modern artillery gun is a highly sophisticated robot, operated that will be operated by a reduced crew. You take a great cannon, and enhance it with robotic system that replaces a crew of seven hands that perform manual processes with three operators that control a much faster and efficient robotic machine. Everything here is linked to advanced computing, hydraulics and communications, all are fields Elbit Systems has excelled in.”

“What we can offer is to take this transformation to the next level – through networking and integration with modern command and control, yielding dramatic operational benefit

Winning the towed artillery tender is important in its own merit but, it will also provide an advantage for future opportunities, as the Indian Army moves forward with additional tenders for self propelled howitzers and other systems.

“What are your current JVs here in India? We ask. “We already have a great cooperation with Bahrat Forge, with which we established a Joint Venture (JV) for the future production of our artillery systems for the Indian Army.” Machlis answered.

Another area where Elbit excelled through the years is fire control systems for T-72 tanks and BMP2 armored fighting vehicles. “We have supplied these systems for several generations of tanks, and implemented them here through our diversified network of partnerships with public and private sector units in India.” Machlis confirmed.

He continued “Another JV we have with HAL is well positioned to sustain the army, navy and air force with various avionic solutions, including the latest aviator helmets, integrated with optronic and night vision systems. In recent years this activity has also expanded into sophisticated training systems. “

Electro-optics is also a growing area for Elbit Systems in India. “It reflects long standing cooperation between Elbit Systems, its local industry partners and customers, particularly among our military and paramilitary markets. Through these cooperations we have established a number of operations with strategic importance to us, in which we supplied a wide range of products, including ground surveillance, aerial reconnaissance for helicopters and aircraft, etc. In this field, I feel we have a great potential looking forward. “ Machlis added.

At Defexpo 2014 Elbit is expanding this activity, introducing its growing family of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), with emphasis on two of the proven Hermes family UAS – the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900. The later is a highly versatile multi-mission platform, carrying multiple payloads including radars, EO, and various SIGINT payloads. As part of its multi-mission approach, the drone has been optimized for maritime surveillance and paramilitary / homeland security missions, equipped with advanced means for persistent wide-area surveillance.

New applications for Elbit Systems’ C5I knowhow is now implemented in the field of homeland defense and cyber warfare, which are becoming major growth areas for defense and other government agencies.

In the communications field we have a sound basis here in India, since the days our subsidiary Tadiran made the first sales of communications equipment here. Together we have developed and inducted a wide range of communications systems supplied to the military through the partnerships we established with local industries. “Today, we are introducing the future generation based on Software Defined Radios, (SDR), the next level that will be integrating future military systems at all levels. These technologies are positioning our company and JV partners to reach new heights in the future. “ Machlis concludes.