“Space, Surveillance Aircraft, Cyber & Missile Defense Systems”
In a fascinating first interview, Yossi Weiss, CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, reveals the development trends of the company and the complex challenges the defense industries will face in 2014. An Israel Defense Exclusive!
Redacted from an in-depth interview by Amir Rapaport 27/3/2014
When Yossi Weiss completed 27 years of service with the IDF Navy and joined IAI in 1998, he could not have expected that in 15 years he would find himself heading the defense industry with the country’s highest number of employees: 17,000.
Reality has led him to head a company that has a backlog of orders of more than US$ 10 billion. Now, after nearly a year and a half as CEO, with substantial cuts in defense budgets expected worldwide in 2014, Weiss speaks, in his first interview, about the direction in which he is steering the company: “The challenges are not simple, but we have excellent growth engines.”
Yossi Weiss, 63, is a mechanical engineer, the son of Holocaust survivor parents from Haifa. He has 7 children and 19 grandchildren, the offspring of two wives (he remarried after his first wife had passed away). In the last few positions he had filled in the IDF Navy, he was involved in numerous force build-up weapon system projects, serving as the leader of the “Dolphin” submarine project until his discharge at the rank of Captain (colonel). Among the various positions he had filled in the Navy, he was on loan to the IMOD Weapon System & Technological Infrastructure Research & Development Administration (MAFAT) for four years; there, he was involved in future naval and anti-aircraft technologies.
Yossi Weiss’ career is a significant example of the close connections between the IDF and IMOD on the one hand and the Israeli defense industries on the other hand: immediately following his discharge from the military he “coasted” into the position of Head of the Attack System Administration at IAI’s MABAT Division.
Following that he headed the Naval & Anti-Aircraft Administration at the same division. In 2002 he was appointed as GM of IAI’s HALAL (Space) Division. During his reign as GM of the HALAL Division, the Amos and Ofek surveillance and communication satellites, including a satellite carrying a synthetic aperture radar system, were launched into orbit and work began on Project Venus – the joint French-Israeli satellite project. In April 2006, Weiss was appointed as GM of IAI’s Missile & Space Division and Corporate Vice President of IAI. In July 2012 he was appointed as CEO, following the retirement of IAI’s previous CEO, Yitzhak Nissan.
” … We do not benefit from as much support by the political echelon as industries in other countries, and have to utilize the very best of the Jewish genius so as to make the client understand that operatively, I am giving him something that is superior to what my competitor offers. … According to Yossi Weiss, IAI continues to spot numerous opportunities in Asia (in India, 2014 will be an election year, so sales will be limited, but in other Asian countries, IAI is competing for numerous projects), in South America (particularly in Brazil) and in countries that were once a part of the great Soviet Union.”
Other fields of activity Weiss points out as significant growth engines are UAVs, quite naturally, and the surveillance aircraft IAI supplies, such as the Falcon aircraft sold to India and currently being manufactured for Italy and for other countries that Weiss would not name.
“If until now we had aircraft applications for the benefit of an aerial status picture, like the AWACS, or the Hawkeye electronic warfare aircraft, we added an application associated with the status picture of ground area cells, based on airborne sensors and ground-based sensors,” says Weiss.
IAI intends to compete on the supply of a new self-propelled gun system to the IDF Land Arm, in cooperation with KMW of Germany and Lockheed-Martin of the USA. What about ground robotics? I believe that naval robotic platforms will evolve relatively quickly. As far as ground robotic systems are concerned — it will take a while longer.”
According to Yossi Weiss, “The USA was and has remained, as far as IAI is concerned, a major ‘anchor’ in our operations. Among other things, we are working intimately with both Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.”
“For Boeing, we serve as important sub-contractors, especially in the field of composite materials. We manufacture wing parts, doors and other elements for them. We are currently hard at work finalizing a plan for expanding our operations vis-à-vis Boeing. … According to our estimates, the number of aircraft in the civilian market will double, worldwide, by 2032. If there are about 16,000-17,000 passenger aircraft in the world today, in the future there will be 30,000 aircraft, and consequently this is a very important market for us.”
… “We regard ourselves as a high-tech industry to all intents and purposes. Almost 70% of our operations have high-tech characteristics. Each year, we invest about one billion US Dollars in development. Our present backlog of orders amounts to more than 10 billion US Dollars.”
Please read the article in its entirety: http://www.israeldefense.com/?CategoryID=483&ArticleID=2828
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