Hyderabad: Adani Defence and Aerospace and the Israel-based Elbit Systems Ltd on Friday launched the Aldani Elbit Unamanned Aerial Vehicles complex at Hyderabad. The new joint venture is touted to be the first private UAV manufacturing facility in India and the first one outside Israel to manufacture the Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance UAV.

The 50,000 square feet state-of-the-art facility will start operations with the manufacturing of complete carbon composite aero-structures for the Hermes 900 UAV, followed by the Hermes 450 UAV, catering to the global markets, and will further be ramped-up for the assembly and integration of complete UAVs here. As of now, after manufacturing, the integration of the UAV units will be done in Israel.

The new manufacturing space has been set up inside the Adani Aerospace park in Hyderabad, which comprises other infrastructure centres as well. “ What we can do here is to make India a lot more self-reliant as today we rely on Russia, the US and Israel (for defence requirements). Our chairman’s vision was never about factories, but about transforming the defence sector. The key premise of this venture was that we would start with the international market and later for India’s requirements," said Ashish Rajvanshi, chief operating officer, Adani Defence and Aerospace.

Interacting with reporters after the launch, Rajvanshi said that the about $15 million has been invested in the new facility, which is located at the Pahadi Shareef area, near the Rajiv Gandhi international airport in Hyderabad. “This is a 20 acre park, which is going to have a supporting ecosystem (for manufacturing)," he added.

Elad Aharonson, executive vice-president and general manager, Elbit Systems Ltd, said that the venture is waiting for the Indian government to give it an opportunity to manufacture UAVs for the defence sector in India. “We are waiting for it to give us the first opportunity, to be part of the selection process and we believe it will be very successful," he added.

Aharonson stated that his company sold products worth $3.6 billion and that the numbers are expected to touch $4 billion next year. “80% of it is from international markets and 20% in Israel. We work all over the globe in about 80 to 90 countries and have about 15,000 employees of which 11,000 are in Israel," he said.

The Aldani Elbit Unamanned Aerial Vehicles complex was inaugurated by Mohd. Mahmood Ali, home minister of Telangana, S. K. Sinha, chief secretary of Telangana, Pranav Adani, director, Adani Enterprise Limited, Karan Adani, CEO, Adani Ports and Special Economic zone, Bezhalel Machlis, president and CEO, Elbit Systems Ltd, Mr. Aharonson, Mr. Rajavanshi and others.

Addressing delegates at the inauguration, Ali said that the Telangana government will do everything it can to enhance India’s defensive capabilities.

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