Adani’s weapons business with Israel

In recent years The Adani Group has been expanding from its energy business in India and Australia, to drone and weapons manufacturing with Israeli businesses and for the Israel Defense Forces. In 2018 the Adani Group established a joint venture partnership with Israeli weapons giant Elbit Systems, to manufacture lethal Hermes 900 drones for the Israel Defence Forces. In January 2023, Israel privatised and sold the Haifa port to The Adani Group (70%) and Israel's Gadot Group (30%), providing ~US$1.6 billion to the state of Israel. The Adani Group has deepened its business ties with Elbit, and continues to produce and ship lethal drones to Israel, even as Israel wages a genocidal assault on the people of Gaza which has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians as of May 2024, mostly women, children and the elderly.

Major international banks continue to fund the Adani Group despite its involvement with war, human rights abuses and fossil fuel expansion. Australian superannuation funds such as Australian Super, CBUS and Brighter Super are exposed to the Adani Group via unethical investment manager GQG. 

Adani manufactures the huge Hermes900 drone-missile weapons with Elbit, Israel’s largest arms producer, to supply the Israel Defense Forces 

In 2018, Adani Enterprises (the primary coal mining business of The Adani Group), and Elbit Systems (Israel’s largest arms producer) launched a joint venture, Adani Elbit Advanced Systems India Limited. Its first order was to make the Hermes 900 UAV for the Israel Defense Forces. Elbit makes 85% of the drones used by the Israel Defense Forces. 

Adani-Elbit operates the only Hermes900 production facility outside of Israel in Hyderabad, India, as well as smaller drone-missile weapons Hermes 450, Sky-Striker, and Skylark 3. Adani says “Hermes 900 is a state of the art, combat proven multi-role unmanned platform with an endurance of 36 hours, payload capacity of 420 kg, altitude of over 32,000 feet (10km+) with applications across civil, defence and homeland security.” 

Hermes900 is a massive military drone that carries missiles to bomb and kill people. It is also used in “intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR)”. It was first used by Israel in the 2014 50-day attack on Gaza. The Hermes900 “also comes with electro optical and infra-red sensors, making it one of the most preferred drones of the Israeli Air Force”.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of a Hermes 900 drone. These drones have become a mainstay of the Israeli Air Force and have been used in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war too. File image/Reuters.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of a Hermes 900 drone. These drones have become a mainstay of the Israeli Air Force and have been used in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war too. File image/Reuters.

In 2020, Adani-Elbit announced “mini” drone missile weapons “for a global customer”. Launching on the sidelines of DefExpo 2020 “one of the largest export programs for the production of hundreds of “mini” drone-missile systems for a global customer”.  

Adani-Elbit also announced a new “Design and Development centre for Defence Technologies focusing on co-developing defence technologies” in 2020. Ashish Rajvanshi, Head of Adani Defence & Aerospace said, "We are working closely with Elbit systems on various programs and we are excited to take our partnership a step further.”

In August 2023, Gautam Adani hosted Elbit CEO Bezhalel Machlis at Adani’s HQ in Ahmedabad. On social media the Adani Group said the visit “not only reaffirms the robust connection between our organizations but also reinforces the strong bond between India-Israel’.

Adani develops and manufactures assault and sniper rifles and machine guns with Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) for the Israel Defense Forces

Image Source: Adani’s Defence Brochure In 2018, Adani announced a joint venture with Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) to manufacture “IWI weapons like TAVOR Assault Rifle, X95 Assault Rifle, GALIL Sniper Rifle, NEGEV Light Machine Gun and UZI Sub Machine Gun” in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. Adani owns 51% of the company, and IWI the remaining 49%.

They called the joint venture company PLR Systems - which stands for Precise, Lethal, Reliable. IWI was formerly owned by the State of Israel, but the Small Arms Division of IMI was privatised and renamed IWI in 2005. 

 In October 2022, Adani announced its business with IWI was expanding to artificial intelligence (AI) controlled weapons. Adani Defence and Aerospace and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) unveiled “India's first AI based firing system 'ARBEL’, the next-generation small arms solution” at the DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, in the Indian state of Gujarat.

Adani is profiting from the ongoing genocide in Gaza

Since the Internationl Court of Justice ruling calling for Israel to prevent genocide, major Japanese firm Itochu has ended its partnership with Elbit Systems. Swiss logistics giant Kuehne+Nagel has also cut all ties. Adani however, has deepened its business ties with Elbit since the genocide in Gaza began. 

Adani has produced and shipped Hermes 900 drones to Israel despite the extremely high probability they could be used to kill innocent Palestinians. Hermes 900 drones have been used extensively in Israel’s assault on Gaza, both for surveillance and for dropping ‘a variety of guided bombs’. 

On 2 February 2024,  Shephard Media reported that Israel had taken delivery of 20 Indian-made Hermes 900 drones from Adani-Elbit Advanced Systems India Ltd. Adani-Elbit’s production facility in Hyderabad is the only place outside of Israel where the Hermes 900 is produced. 

Though neither country has publicly acknowledged the transfer of Indian-made drones to Israel, a source at Adani confirmed to The Wire that drones were, in fact, exported to Israel. 

A defence analyst said, "Regrettably, it's highly likely that drones manufactured through the Adani-Elbit venture may be deployed in Gaza."

Adani’s genocide profiteering may be stopping India from taking stronger action to end Israel’s assault on Gaza. Although India voted in favour of an immediate ceasefire in the UN in December 2023, it later refused to back an April 2024 UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and an arms embargo on Israel. India’s sudden change of position could be explained by the fact an arms embargo would hurt the business interests of Gautam Adani - who is close to Prime Minister Narenda Modi and has frequently benefited from his government’s policies.


Image: Actual website homepage (27 May 2024) of Adani Defence:

Actual website of Adani Defence: