Elbit Systems and Adani Enterprises have finalised a joint venture agreement to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in India.
The new entity, Adani-Elbit Advanced Systems India, was established on 7 November, and will operate in the aerospace and defence manufacturing sector.
It was announced in April that Elbit had signed a letter of intent with Adani for the JV, along with a separate agreement with Alpha Design Technologies. Both JVs involve pitching Elbit's Hermes 450 and 900 systems to the Indian market.
The new JV will try to break into the Indian UAV market that is largely dominated by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
After joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as a full member in June, India is moving ahead to implement its plan to purchase the IAI Heron TP UAV.
India is operating the Heron 1 and other smaller Israeli-made UAVs, but the purchase of a strategic UAV like the Heron TP had been put on hold. Last year, India’s The Economic Times claimed the government had quietly approved the purchase of 10 missile-armed Heron TPs from Israel.
Israel is not a member of the MTCR, but has agreed to export its strategic weapon systems only to member countries. By joining the MTCR, India will be able to open a negotiation about the purchase of the Heron TP.
The Indian media has reported in recent months that the country's armed forces have a requirement for a large number of different categories of UAVs.
This, according to Israeli sources, explains the forming of the new joint venture, especially considering the current New Delhi government’s interest in transferring technology and skills to India.