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Israel unveils tiny drone at Indian weapons fair
Seeking to boost sales of sophisticated weapons, 14 of the country's top defense firms are displaying their best at an arms fair to open near New Delhi Wednesday.

Known as Aero India, the four-day fair is one of the largest air shows in South Asia and a showcase for lucrative deals.

Israel will be joining some two dozen countries attempting to cash in on India's modernization plans for its military.

Rafael, the Armaments Development Authority, is using the opportunity to unveil its newest, small UAV called the Skylite – a miniature drone which is launched from a canister.

This is the fifth time that Israel has participated in the fair. The last time, Pakistan warned it not to sell India any weaponry that could be used against it. There were no reports of any warning this year.

The Defense Ministry, which repeatedly declines to comment on its lucrative arms trade with India, issued a rare statement on the defense relations.

It said that SIBAT, the Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization, was opening a pavilion in which 14 local defense industries would be offering items ranging from anti-tank rockets, electronic warfare and drones, to rocket motors, communications systems and armor.

Also on hand will be top defense officials, such as Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron and Yossi Ben-Hanan, head of SIBAT.

Other companies are expected to announce deals during the event that has attracted more than 350 companies. India is considered a great cash cow for Israeli defense products. Local defense industries are reluctant to reveal the extent of their deals with India, but the US-based Defense News reported this week that in 2003, India purchased $2.7 billion worth of arms and munitions from Israel, more than 30 percent of total orders for the defense industries.

India is seeking to modernize its military with high-tech weaponry. However, New Delhi wants to do with through joint ventures and not necessarily off-the-shelf purchases from abroad.

According to Defense News, Rafael will sign a $25 million contract to provide the Indian navy with 20 Derby missiles that can be fired beyond visual range. The missiles are designated to be used by Harriers stationed on India's aircraft carrier. Officials from Rafael could not be reached for comment.

While senior Defense Ministry officials have visited India often in the past months, this week's open display of Israeli defense industry capabilities marks a step up in the confidence in defense ties between the two countries.

Among the companies plying their wares in New Delhi are Elbit Systems, Elisra Group, EMIT Aviation Consult, RADA Electronic Industries, Orbit ACS, Israel Aircraft Industries and Aeronautics Defense Systems.


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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:45 AM

 

 
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