Supporting Israeli and U.S. defense and security operations with top-tier surveillance technology
Dan Bader is Vice President of Business Operations for ELTA North America. Affiliated with ELTA Systems—a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries—ELTA North America is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of aerospace and defense systems for the United States government. The company’s surveillance products and services support troops, first responders, and security personnel in airborne, ground, and maritime environments. ELTA North America opened in Fulton, Maryland in 2012, in partnership with the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC).
Tell us about your background.
DAN BADER: I’ve been with ELTA North America for just a year now. The company’s been there since 2012. Prior to that, I was in different areas of the defense industry after retiring from the military in 2012, after 26 years of service. The background for ELTA North America is that our ultimate parent is Israel Aerospace Industries LTD, in Israel. They’ve been around for 50-60 years, and are owned by the government of Israel. IAI, as we call it, is the largest defense contractor and employer in the defense industry for the state of Israel; a very large corporation, lots of depth and breadth of capabilities across major military and commercial markets. They have expertise in sea, aerospace, cyberspace, and land systems—a very large portfolio. Under IAI in Israel, there are a number of groups, including ELTA Systems. ELTA Systems LTD is its own company also. Their specialty is in radars in particular and other technologies. One of IAI Limited’s subsidiaries is IAI North America, and ELTA North America is a subsidiary of IAI North America. So, our lineage—our ownership—ties back to IAI Industries in Israel, but our national relationship is with ELTA Systems. We are their value-added partner to resell, to market their products and technologies in the U.S.
What kind of technology does ELTA manufacture?
ELTA Systems’ product line is centered around technology, engineering, development and capabilities in radars—radars that are ground surveillance, airborne surveillance, strategic systems, tactical systems. They have developed radars that can go on a fighter aircraft, that can go on a maritime patrol aircraft, that can do strategic missile activities—strategic targeting of those kinds of capabilities. From those strategic systems and those airborne systems and many naval based systems for air traffic control and again for targeting weapon systems, they can go down to the tactical level: ground surveillance, protecting borders, protecting facilities, protecting installations. The good story here is that many of these technologies transfer and can be molded and modified. They’re not one-off solutions. You can take a ground surveillance radar and play with the technology, hardware, software, and turn it into an air surveillance radar for close-in surveillance of unmanned aerial systems, for example. With a company that has that kind of depth and breadth in technology and engineering, they can very efficiently develop a technology, and through modification, apply it across many areas to provide capabilities to government, industry, or the commercial sector.
Where does ELTA North America come in?
The difficulty for ELTA North America is putting focus on this wide range of capabilities. How do we market it in the U.S.? Our customers right now are foreign military funding back to the state of Israel: the U.S. Government sends money to Israel so they can develop capabilities and implement them for their security. There’s a requirement to execute some of those funds back in the United States, so they do it through us as their subsidiary. We build parts, components for some major systems back in Israel—the most famous being the Iron Dome System, a system that helps protect the borders of Israel from incoming rocket fire—through partnerships and being used by the Israeli Defense Forces.
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