With a full range of air-to-air and air-to-ground missile systems, Lova Drori, Executive Vice President Marketing, Rafael, tells ShowNews’ Neelam Mathews that he is looking at long term partnerships with Indian companies.
ShowNews: The joint venture with Bharat Electronics Ltd. for seekers seems to have met a roadblock?
Lova Drori: Currently there is a stoppage. Since the requirement is (only) 26% (for the foreign partner) and BEL prefers not to have a third industry partner in the JV, it means the JV will become a defense public sector undertaking. The requirements are too complicated. We need to find solutions to that.
LD:We are looking for JVs in other areas of land systems including remote control weapon stations.
SN: What issues do you face in India?
LD: There is a problem of process in India. For example, upgrade projects have been planned for several years (and they take time).
SN:What is the status of the delivery of the low-level, quick-reaction, surface-to-air missile (LLQRM)
LD: The delivery of the Spyder is as planned. The first one arrives in 2011.
SN: Any discussions on the Iron Dome, a mobile air defense system designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells? You made a presentation last year to the government. Also what about David’s Sling, designed to intercept medium-to-long range rockets and slower-flying cruise missiles?
LD: While there have been no discussions, we try for every system we get. We see India as a special customer. Meanwhile, David’s Sling is being jointly developed by Rafael and U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and any [export] decision on it will require U.S approval.
SN: What about aerostats?
LD: We are responding to an RFI for four aerostats.
SN: And Ravnet, the airborne tactical radio network?
LD: It has good potential. The program is big enough for a JV. We [expect] to sell hundreds or more. We’re also open to transfer of technology which means after 10 years, Indian companies can build their own.