Israeli defence company Rafael is negotiating to expand its co-operation with European missile manufacturers, according to new chairman Jacob Toren. Rafael recently became a state-owned company, after previously being a department of the Israeli ministry of defence.

Toren, the former president of Israeli sensor developer ELOP, says that the new status will allow Rafael greater flexibility in its business relations with foreign companies. "Now we are on our own and have to expand our sales and profits."

He says that 2001 ended with a "small profit" and that the forecast for 2002 is for further growth. The plan is to co-operate with foreign manufacturers in the USA and Europe, he adds.

Rafael already has a joint venture with Lockheed Martin to manufacture the AGM-142 Have Nap air-to-ground TV-guided missile. In Europe, Rafael has a joint venture with the Eurospike consortium to manufacture the Gil man-portable anti-tank missile, selected last year by the Dutch and Finnish armies. Eurospike includes Diehl, Rheinmetall and STN Atlas.

Source: Flight International