Following Latin-American Success, Israel’s Defense Technology Innovator RAFAEL Charts Brazil Expansion

Lova Drori, Executive Vice President for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
Lova Drori, Executive Vice President for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

This interview is also available in Portuguese and Spanish

Israel’s leading defense systems manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is one of the largest exhibitors at the Israeli pavilion at LAAD. The company is showing here a wide range of systems, addressing maritime and coastal security, area surveillance, monitoring and control for land and urban areas, and airborne and space reconnaissance.

Addressing specific Brazilian interest in short and medium range air-defense capabilities, Rafael are presenting here two of its Spyder air defense systems and the Iron Dome counter rocket, mortar and missile system. The company also highlights an integrated approach to air dominance, employing reconnaissance and associated ground processing center, targeting pods, guided weapons and real-time command, control and communications (C3) systems. For the naval arena, Rafael is also promoting the Toplite stabilized multi-sensor payload, Mini-Typhoon remotely controlled, stabilized weapon system and Protector, an unmanned surface vessel. These systems can operate effectively under all weather conditions.

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Lova Drori, Executive Vice President for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems outlines Rafael’s aims in the Latin American market and, specifically Brazil.

Defense Update: What are the main market opportunities you see in Latin America and Brazil for 2011?

Drori: Rafael has a wide presence in some of Latin American armed forces, primarily Colombia, Chile and Peru. Some of our systems are also flying with the Brazilian Air Force, and we are looking forward to expand our cooperation with customers and industry partners, in major security and defense programs planned in Brazil.

Toplite, an electro-optical multi-sensor payload, is offered for various land, air and naval , military and security applications. Photo: Rafael

In recent years LAAD evolved from a local Brazilian event into a regional exhibition; therefore, we address the entire region with a different focus. Regarding Brazil, evolving into a major power on a regional as well as global scale, we emphasize various aspects of security and defense, including air-defense, maritime and coastal security, leveraging our command, control and intelligence technologies for security management over vast regions of land and sea, utilizing derivatives of our military systems.

Realizing Brazil’s emphasis on domestic procurement in most of their defense and security programs, LAAD is providing Rafael an excellent venue for expanding its networking within the local industry and business sector. Setting the stage for future industrial cooperation, joint ventures as well as potential acquisition of local enterprises, in pursuit of market opportunities in Brazil, Rafael is positioning itself as a partner in local or international consortia, bidding on security and defense acquisition programs, contributing as potential technology innovator, hardware supplier and system provider.

There are several programs where our systems could be integrated, including securing offshore facilities and coastal areas, the Amazon security initiative, world cup and Olympics games and other regional or nation-wide activities. Rafael is ready to supply Brazilian authorities with the most advanced technologies or cooperate with local industries as team member, providing key technologies for integration in such programs.

These include sensors and systems for air, land and maritime surveillance, image processing technologies, advanced communications. The company is also ready to offer its latest microsatellite technology, developed at Rafael, to provide Brazil with highly responsive, affordable space-based reconnaissance capability.

Defense Update: Do you have offerings in the field of intelligence gathering, wide area surveillance that fit the Brazilian needs? The environment here is very different from other areas of operation you were involved with in the past?

Drori: Our command, control, communications and intelligence systems can also be implemented to support rapid response in emergency situations, providing decision makers at local, regional and national level with tools for rapid situational assessment, decision making and first response. Such capabilities can be employed to support a number of missions, from wide area monitoring and protection of natural resources, to monitoring and response to evolving security issues, floods, earthquakes and wild fires, to internal unrest or foreign threats. Each contingency requires different levels of information flow, response time and peripheral capabilities.

Surveillance and monitoring systems are not exclusively designed to counter security risks or military threats. Technological solutions can cover areas of any size; it is the response rate the customer defines that will determine the efficiency and utilization of the system. Whether monitoring an area for violations of land use, burning forests, conduct illegal fishing, smuggling drugs or stealing from oil rigs. There are many uses for monitoring and control systems, which must be integrated with effective means of enforcement and response.

Defense Update: Has the Brazilian approach toward Israel changed in past years? Was Israel always welcome here?

Drori: Brazil is doing business with many countries, among them Israel. The Brazilians are familiar with the Israeli capabilities in general and appreciate its capabilities. The Brazilians consider Israel, along with Sweden and France, as a potential leading providers of state-of-the-art defense technology for their country.

Sweden, considered one of three finalists for the F-X program is offering the Gripen with a wide choice of weapons and systems. Part of them, like the Python V and Derby missiles, Spice guided bombs, Litening targeting pod (seen above) or Reccelite pod, are made by Rafael, may be included. Photo: Rafael

Defense Update: Brazil is considering buying the French Rafale, U.S. Super Hornet or Swedish Gripen. Can Rafael offer weapons, recce / targeting and other systems to each of these?

Drori: Sweden, considered one of three finalists for the F-X program is offering the Gripen with a wide choice of weapons and systems, part of them, like the Python V and Derby missiles, Spice guided bombs, Litening targeting pod and Reccelite pod, made by Rafael, may be included. The other bidders, France and the USA, have traditionally offered their fighters with locally built weapons and systems only. In certain cases, it was the customer who dictated what weapons and systems will be integrated in the aircraft. Brazil also has Rafael systems in its inventory and we hope they will take a similar approach when selecting their future fighter.

This interview is also available in Portuguese and Spanish

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