IAI will move its Ashdod operations to Beersheva

The board of directors of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has decided to move its land-based military systems development and production center from Ashdod to Beersheva. In the first phase, 200 to 300 of the thousands of workers currently working in Ashdod will be employed in Beersheva within three years.

The initial decision to establish the Beersheva plant was made in 2019 after the company announced that it would operate there in the fields of autonomous ground robots, ground radar systems and border protection radar systems. But since then, almost nothing has been done to implement the decision.

He calls the state for help

The budget for the first phase of the project includes the advancement of procedures to approve the building plans for the research and development laboratories, which cost more than NIS 100 million. The facility will be built on more than 200 dunams (50 acres) in Beersheva’s technology park.

IAI chairman Amir Peretz confirmed the plans to Globe, adding that the decision symbolizes IAI’s vision to develop the Negev. Government involvement is needed to promote the vision, Peretz added.

Peretz said that he will raise this issue before the new government. Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu has previously declared that Beersheba will be Israel’s cyber security and technology capital, and IAI hopes he will turn that declaration into action.

IAI President and CEO Boaz Levy told Globe: “The project represents IAI’s involvement in the development of the Negev by emphasizing the technological world and expanding business opportunities there.”

Not only does IAI see this as a national strategic move, Beersheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich said the new plant would provide additional high-paying jobs for the city’s young residents and attract a strong population to Beersheva.

Incentives for employees

Another person involved in the decision-making process is Yair Katz, general secretary of the IAI working committee. He says that it will not be a simple task for many employees who will have to move the workplace to the south, and a mechanism should be put in place to encourage them. Katz added that workers who will move from Ashdod to Beersheva will be offered a package of benefits and grants and a salary increase of several thousand shekels, while those who do not want to move will be offered alternative jobs in Ashdod.

If the vision of moving to Beersheva is indeed realized by IAI, the plan will face strong opposition from Ashdod Municipality and local residents and will be discussed extensively by the workers’ committee. Relocating a few hundred workers is one thing, but relocating thousands of workers working in Ashdod is a much more complicated matter.

The unit has proven itself

The plant and development center in Beersheva will, among other things, develop the Carmel autonomous system for armored vehicles. It is a technological system that will be installed on IDF armored vehicles, tanks and APCs to improve their capabilities, including adding data collection capabilities using various data sources, data processing and determining courses of action through advanced artificial intelligence systems. Last year, the company won the tender of the Ministry of Defense for the development of the project. This is a project with a budget of hundreds of millions of shekels.

Yoav Turgeman, CEO of IAI’s ELTA subsidiary, which develops military radar, communications and electronic warfare systems and will manage the Beersheva activities, said the company’s entry into the land systems sector three years ago paid off and the division has been developing for several years. significant backlog of orders.

Turgeman added that the planned factory will house both R&D activities and a production line. The plant will also participate in IAI’s commercial activities, such as the development of medical systems.

Turgeman estimates that the new plant will be up and running within two years, and a significant portion of IAI’s dry operations mill will move there. In recent months, dozens of meetings have been held with the parties involved, including representatives of the Ministry of Defense and Beersheva Municipality.

Globes, Israel business news – published by en.globes.co.il on November 24, 2022.

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