Navigating Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) through difficult and challenging time, President and CEO Joseph Weiss has set ambitious goal for the company’s future growth. With slow US market and declining European demand, IAI is setting its aim on emerging markets, a move that could have been easier if the government owned IAI could be managed in a more flexibly and efficiently.
Facing a deep budget deficit, Israel’s ministry of finance is keen to proceed with the privatization of the defense companies currently owned by the government, a trend that provides positive headwind for IAI’s calls for such move. Finance minister Yair Lapid has recently set a goal to privatize up to 20 percent of IAI and Rafael, an act that would improve the company’s flexibility, and competitiveness domestically and overseas.
Being a government owned company was not an impediment for IAI’s success. Maintaining continuous growth trend over the recent years, IAI reporting net sales of more than 3.3 billion in 2012. “Our backlog of US$ 9.8 billion and increased book-to-bill ratio constitute a strong foundation of activity and growth for IAI in the coming years.” Joseph Weiss.
Over the past decade IAI has established a strong presence in India, and in recent years its sales to Russia have increased significantly. It has now set aim at Brazil, as the next growth market. “We view Brazil as one of our key markets, we are actively pursuing cooperation with local industries in Brazil and we will continue to invest in Brazil in other segments.” Weiss said.
Among IAI’s recent wins IAI in Brazil was a large-scale air-refueling project, delivering several Boeing 767-300 aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force. In April Brazil’s electronics giant IACIT has entered a partnership with ELTA’s subsidiary LARDOSA, targeting defense and public security projects in Brazil. In the near term the partnership is set to bid on large-scale defense programs the Brazilian government is planning to float.
One of the main thrusts emphasized at the Paris Air Show is company’s ‘total System’ approach to Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, particularly addressing the latest trend of ‘persistent surveillance’. IAI is providing a hint of what these future activities may include. “We are unveiling a new air/ground surveillance system packed in a special mission aircraft equipped with advanced phased-array surveillance radar and other electronic intelligence sensors, all fused to deliver a multi-dimensional, constantly updated situational picture.” Weiss told Defense-Update, “The information derived from such systems can be used for strategic, intelligence assessment, persistent surveillance and actionable response.”