Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. agreed to establish a weapons manufacturing joint venture with Reliance Defense, a wholly-owned unit of India’s largest private sector enterprise power utility and construction company, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. (BSE: 500390) led by billionaire Anil Ambani.
The joint venture will have an initial capital outlay of more than Rs.1,300 Crore ($195 million) and will address multiple programs valued at more than Rs.65,000 crore ($10 billion) over the next decade.
The agreement was announced at the Defexpo India exhibition in Goa, and was attended by Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon and Rafael CEO Yoav Har-Even.
In February 2015, India’s Kalyani Group also entered into a substantial joint venture with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, to manufacture advanced missile and weapons systems, and armor solutions for Indian, and subsequently global customers of Rafael, at a facility near the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
“The strategic partnership with technology power house and one of the world leaders in defence technologies, Rafael Advance Defense Systems will mark the entry of Reliance Defense in the complex field of air-to-air and air defence systems manufacturing in India,” Reliance stated.
Reliance Defense will hold 51 percent of the joint venture, and Rafael will hold the other 49 percent stake, according to current guidelines of the government of India.
Reliance Infrastructure’s chairman Anil Ambani, the younger sibling of India’s richest person Mukesh Ambani, has a net worth of $2.9 billion according to Forbes.
The new venture will be located at Dhirubhai Ambani Land Systems Park at Indore in Madhya Pradesh and will generate more than 3,000 highly-skilled jobs.
“The joint venture will provide a big thrust into the field of indigenous production and development of high precision and state-of-the-art weapon systems in India,” Reliance said.
Rafael is a market leader with products such as Python and Derby in the air-to-air missiles system, Spyder range in air defence systems and the Barak missiles family of short and medium range surface-to-air missiles.
“Rafael is also willing to offer solutions through the joint venture even for the ongoing ‘buy global’ programs where it is currently competing, in line with ‘Make in India’ initiatives, of the Indian Government,” Reliance added.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., formerly Rafael Armament Development Authority, was founded in 1948 as Israel’s National R&D Defense Laboratory for the development of weapons and military technology within the Ministry of Defense; in 2002 it was incorporated as a limited company. Rafael develops and produces weapons, military, and defense technologies for the Israel Defense Forces and for export abroad. All current projects are classified.
As part of its corporate culture of partnerships and cooperation, Rafael has created agreements with over 100 governmental, aviation, space and defense organizations in Israel and around the world. These programs allow Rafael and its partners to capitalize on mutual strengths and leverage existing capabilities.
Rafael is the largest employer in Northern Israel with over 7,000 employees. Rafael is Israel’s second largest defense company, with 2014 sales of 1.9 Billion Dollars, an order backlog of 5 Billion Dollars and a net profit of 90 Million Dollars. The company is headquartered in Haifa, Israel.