Elbit President & CEO Mr Joseph Ackerman

Q: How does Elbit view the Australian market. A: Personally, Australia is one of my favorite countries. A first step for Elbit in any business activity is to have a good understanding of our customer’s needs. It is not always the case that in a formal way we receive all the information about what a customer truly requires – so it is essential to have a good background when it comes to technical and operational matters. For us, there are some countries that we have found easier to work with than others – and Australia is one of those positive cases.

2nd Apr 2012


1st Person


Elbit President & CEO Mr Joseph Ackerman speaks with APDR Editor Kym Bergmann


Q: How does Elbit view the Australian market.

A: Personally, Australia is one of my favorite countries. A first step for Elbit in any business activity is to have a good understanding of our customer’s needs. It is not always the case that in a formal way we receive all the information about what a customer truly requires – so it is essential to have a good background when it comes to technical and operational matters. For us, there are some countries that we have found easier to work with than others – and Australia is one of those positive cases.

We have found that Australia is an open and ethical place to do business and that if you listen to what you are being told – and if you also possess a strong technical and operational background yourself - you can come to an understanding of what is needed. So in essence what we have been doing is listening to what the customer wants and we have found that to be an effective way of doing things.

Q: How are things progressing with LAND 200 – a key NCW activity?

A: Our approach from the beginning was not only to speak with people from the Department of Defence but also with Army end users. This is a Command, Control, Communications & Computing (C4) task – which we regard as almost a kind of art. How to do all of those activities effectively and efficiently is no easy thing. Some others might have approached the task with what they already had. What Elbit did was to put our existing products to one side. Instead we listened to find out exactly what it was that the customer wanted – and I can tell you the Australian Army knows what it wants.

So what we did was to use our experience to make adjustments to what we had already developed to come up with a solution designed for the very specific needs and requirements of the customer. Australia is different from Israel, or the United States or Europe and it is important to understand that. I am pleased with progress we are making and I believe that recent exercises confirm that we are on the correct path.

Q: How will the solution for LAND 200 connect with the systems of allied nations, especially the US?

A: When we first started discussions with Australia, we understood the importance of this issue – it was one of first things raised with us. We understand the importance of connectivity and we have already demonstrated that we can do it. I do not see any problem: we are in continuous contact with our customer and this has not come up to date.

Let me give you an example: Elbit has a variety of technologies for radios. I can say that whatever the needs of our customer, we have a radio that can suit. Regarding LAND 200, Australia made it clear from the first moment that they would like to use a radio from another supplier. That is a decision that we understand and respect because it was based on factors in addition to technical details and price.

Q: How do you see the future, particularly regarding NCW activities?

A: We see a number of opportunities coming up, not only related to the C4 domain but also Electronic Warfare. The work that we do on airborne EW is quite well known and we are on a large number of platforms – F-15, F-16, Australia’s AP-3C aircraft, and so on. However, we see a growing level of customer interest around the world on ground-based systems in ELINT and COMINT. That is an area that might also be of interest for Australia.

Q: Will having an industrial footprint in Australia help with future opportunities.

A: I believe so. We have a company – Elbit Australia – that is growing rapidly. Just in the next 12 months we are going to double the number of our staff. To make it clear, we are here to stay. Because of the distance from Israel, we would like to see Australians managing the company and we are on track to achieve that.

 

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