In recent years RAFAEL has won significant orders from India and, anticipating more business in that country, the Israeli company is preparing to expand its sourcing and cooperation in India assuming more offset obligations resulting from those orders. “RAFAEL is interested in establishing partnerships and cooperation where we can transfer some of our technologies and production capabilities.” Oron Oriol, Rafael’s VP for marketing and Business development told Defense Update and Vayu on a recent interview; “India is not exceptional in this strategy, we have followed these lines in our business in Europe and the USA and we expect this proven practice to be successful in the Indian market” Oriol added. In his previous position Oriol has lead RAFAEL’s business in the USA, paving close partnerships with US primes like Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.
RAFAEL is already working with several companies in India, including Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), which will assume local support for RAFAEL’s missile systems delivered to India. “I am confident we’ll reach similar cooperation concerning future prospects.” Oriol said, RAFAEL is not limiting its cooperation to the public sector units, and have discussed various terms of partnership and joint ventures with a number of companies in India – including private sector enterprises. “At this stage we haven’t concluded such terms but I am confident we shall reach an understanding when the time comes.”
One of RAFAEL’s strengths in international cooperation is its flexibility in adhering to local conditions. “As a design authority, we know what requirements should be maintained and what could be eased slightly, thus opening a window of opportunity for local subcontractors and suppliers, particularly those qualified to produce for the commercial market, thus having the high quality levels required for such products” Oriol added that military qualifications are not necessarily mandatory in every product, since it is up to the prime contractor to ensure the entire system meets the necessary requirements as specified by the customer. “To remain competitive against tough competition you must know how to adjust to your customer’s local environment and not demand him to adjust to you,” Oriol explained.
Part of this adjustment is Rafael’s proven ‘Design to Cost’ approach, selectively implemented in major programs in recent years has also become a critical advantage when facing growing competition. “We embraced this concept in several successful programs, the most recent was ‘Iron Dome’, where a complete weapon system was developed and fielded in record time, within budget, following methodical ‘design to cost’ principles.” Oriol said. This system was not only economical; it proved itself in combat beyond expectations, scoring over 80 percent success in over 500 successful interceptions of enemy rockets and missiles. According to Oriol, Iron Dome demonstrated that our design to cost process works. “We could create an interceptor that will deliver 5 percent more, but that would cost five times more.” He said this concept can also be implemented in other areas, including Electro-optics, NCW and C4I.
RAFAEL will be displaying Iron Dome at Aero India 2013, along with other air defense systems, offering the system as an active defense against rocket attacks as well as a Very Short Range Air Defense System (VSHORAD).