Indian – Israeli defense trade flourishing

The visit of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi brought with it news of more Indian – Israeli defense trade, which is already flourishing.

As I reported in Jane’s Defense Weekly, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between an Indian textiles company and Israeli surveillance aerostate company. The companies said the signature signaled an  “intention to combine their capability for [the] manufacturing and supply of advanced aerostats for Indian defence.”

Aerostats (or tethered balloons) can operate at up to 15,000 feet, and carry radars. They could help India to secure its vast borders. Israel’s Aero-T firm creates large, blimp-shaped aerostats. Its parent company, RT LTA, makes aerostates used by the IDF.

Aero-T’s SkyGuard 2. Will it be over Indian borders soon? (Credit: Aero-T)

Meanwhile, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced that it would cooperate with 2 Indian companies to “address the needs” of the Indian drone market. The companies also agreed to team up on the production, assembly, and support of drone production in India.

In essence, IAI will sell drone technology and production know-how to the Indian companies, DTL and Elcom, thereby keeping in line with the Indian government’s directive to enable indigenous capabilities for drones.

IAI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in  with India’s Kalyani Strategic Systems on the establishment of a maintenance center for selected advanced air defense systems. That agreement is a follow-on from a previous joint venture, to develop and build air defense systems – also in line with the Indian Government’s Made In India directive.

Reminder: In April, IAI announced the biggest defense contract in Israel’s history, for the supply of medium-range surface-to-air missile systems for the Indian Army, and long-range surface-to-air missile systems, for India’s first aircraft carrier.

IAI’s medium-range air defense system, during a June 2016 trial (Credit: IAI)

That deal is worth more than $1.6 billion.