Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which is to supply systems for Barak 8 surface-to-air missiles to Bharat Electronics Ltd for installation on Indian warships, is look to engage with start-ups that work in the field of aviation and defence. The decision has sparked interest among Indian conglomerates such as the Kalyani Group and Piramal Enterprises. As Israel continues to produce an impressive number of highly successful tech start-ups — earning it the moniker ‘Start-up Nation’ — IAI is keen to build what is being referred to as the country’s first aviation accelerator. The Bedek Aviation Group, IAI’s biggest division that conducts heavy aircraft maintenance and upgrades, and converts aircraft to various specified configurations such as aerial refuelling and cargo, will host the accelerator. The aim is to identify start-ups that have passed the seed stage, so that their products can be used by IAI, said officials. The start-ups will utilise IAI’s infrastructural facilities as well as professional guidance from leading aviation specialists. Israel’s aviation accelerator has sparked interest among Indian firms, with the $3-billion Kalyani Group looking to up the ante, given its association with IAI. In February, the group’s defence arm Kalyani Strategic Systems had inked a MoU with IAI to incorporate a joint venture company in India. Baba Kalyani, Chairman of Bharat Forge, the flagship company of the Kalyani Group, told Business Line that collaborating with hi-tech aviation and defence experts as well as start-ups would help Indian firms “get access to critical technology which is the need of the hour in defence and aviation.” The group, which is also into aerospace, has built strong ties with foreign partners over the years for specialised raw materials. It is keen to become a strategic player in the global aerospace supply chain, with its forged and machined products and assemblies, and aims to achieve $100 million in revenues from that sector. “Our JV with IAI will manufacture specific air defence systems. Since we have been supplying components for aircraft and make metal components in super alloys and titanium, new technologies used by start-ups in the aerospace sector could be critical for India’s aviation space,” said Mrs Kalyani. Piramal Enterprises holds a minority equity stake in Israeli firm BlueBird Aero Systems, which manufactures tactical unmanned aerial systems and peripheral equipment.