A new HLS division at IMI

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Robots, Less Lethal Weapons and more: the Israeli Military Industry is expanding into the Homeland Security area

Nobody at IMI is waiting for the company’s privatization process to be completed, they are already expanding into new business areas. At the new division offices, levels of activity are already furious. Nir Regev, head of the new division, believes the company has great potential in the HLS market.

“We have,” he says, “the assets of a mature defense equipment manufacturer, with many well documented achievements, plus the drive to expand into new areas.” The company is undoubtedly going to be a lead player in HLS. Regev, who arrived here after a long career in various national security bodies, explains that countries around the world are now investing big budgets in the homeland security area.

He says the new division will operate in four main fields. One will be security in the widest sense of the term: including technologically advanced protection of public events, dealing with threats directed at planes and aerial vehicles, as well as safety of overland and marine traffic.

The second area his division will deal with is ‘Safe City’. The third area will be home front security, including the use of advanced systems, and the fourth will be cyber protection. “We are currently protecting our [military] systems from cyber attacks, and will now be able to offer all this to civilian clients: one of several examples of how we use our knowhow for civilian purposes.”

The new division is planning to supply complete solution packages. Unexpectedly, Regev thinks the fact IMI doesn’t have all the products included in a complete systematic solution is an advantage. “We don’t have at our disposal all available systems and technologies… but we offer whole package solutions, assist the potential client in characterizing his needs, agree on a plan and finally, carry it out,” Regev says.

According to its General Manager the new division, working in coordination with other company divisions, has a significant Research and Development budget which enables it to develop new systems and adapt existing ones to HLS uses. At the moment the division is working on the development of ‘less lethal weapons’. This is a term often used in the last couple of years, due to the changes in the nature of most current military disputes.

“We are also entering the Robotics field. We are collaborating with the Israeli company [Automative Industries Ltd.], responsible for developing the ‘Amstaff’ robotic vehicle,” says Regev. The planned expansion, however, is not only towards less lethal weapons and robotics but also towards facial identification software and other systems that could be integrated and made use of in the context of IMI’s vast experience.

Regev is also aware that in order to operate in international markets he needs local connections, this mainly by way of cooperating with local companies. “We have plans for such collaborations…We’ll be very active in the international market,” he sums up.