US defense firm Lockheed Martin tightened its relationship with Israel Monday with the signing of a long-term deal with the Yissum Research Development Company, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Under the deal, the two will sponsor and facilitate joint research at Hebrew U and at Lockheed-Martin research labs, one of which is located in Beersheba.
The collaboration will focus on basic and applicable scientific research in areas such as quantum information sciences and material sciences, as well as in other areas of joint interest, both parties said. Under the agreement, Lockheed-Martin will have the option to purchase exclusive licenses to use any invention or product resulting from joint research endeavors.
Last May, Lockheed Martin, EMC Israel, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba signed a deal to work together to ferret out promising Israeli cyber-security start-ups, and then help them develop their technology into commercial products. Under the deal, the companies will invest together and fund start-ups, which will work at EMC’s R&D facilities in the Advanced Technologies Park in Beersheba.
Although known mostly for its defense and weapons work, Lockheed-Martin has a large information technology division. In fact, the company is the number one IT solutions provider to the US federal government. In an interview with The Times of Israel, Chandra McMahon, senior VP for commercial markets, Lockheed Martin IS&GS said that the company “has nearly $9 billion in sales annually, and we support our clients in the private sector, government, and defense arena. All of them use our systems and need cyber-security solutions, which we help them to find and maintain. And of course, as a leading defense contractor, we ourselves are prime targets for hackers. We need good cyber technologies to protect our customers, and Israel is a great place for that.”
At the signing ceremony for the Lockheed-Yissum deal Monday on Hebrew U’s Mt. Scopus campus, Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum, said his organization was “very pleased to enter into this long term collaboration with a global security and aerospace leader such as Lockheed-Martin. The framework agreement we signed today sets the ground for a wide range of potential areas of research collaboration between the two parties. Through supporting cutting-edge, innovative research of scientists at the Hebrew University, this partnership may result in exciting commercial products.”
Joshua Shani, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Israel, added that “this is another step in Lockheed Martin Israel’s long-term plans to develop additional partnerships outside the defense market and partner with the industry and academia in Israel. We are enthusiastic to partner with Yissum and the Hebrew University and look forward to many joint productive projects.”