Indian-American aerospace expert named chief of US defence giant General Atomics


Vivek Lall, CEO, General Atomics
Vivek Lall, CEO, General Atomics

A PROMINENT Indian-American aerospace and defence expert has been appointed as the chief of one of the world’s leading privately held nuclear and defence companies, General Atomics Global Corporation, based in California.

Vivek Lall, 50, who played key roles in some major Indo-US defence deals between India and the US, had resigned in April as vice president of Aeronautics Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin to spend more time with his family in San Diego.

However, within weeks, General Atomics (GA), the world’s premier drone manufacturer, roped him in. The company said Lall’s “extensive experience in the US and international markets” would boots its international growth.

“We are pleased to announce that Dr Vivek Lall will assume the position of Chief Executive at General Atomics Global Corporation, effective immediately,” GA said in a statement.

“With Dr Lall’s expertise, GA Global will expand its global footprint for managing sales, service, and international industrial collaboration in strategically important countries like Japan, Australia, the UAE, and others.”

GA, along with affiliated companies, operates on five continents. This is Jakarta-born Lall’s his second stint with the company, which produces a series of unmanned aircraft and provides electro-optical, radar, signals intelligence, and automated airborne surveillance systems.

In his capacity as chief executive of strategic development at GA from 2014 to 2018, Lall played key role in the decision of the Trump Administration to sell missile-capable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to India, a non-NATO country.

For over a decade now, Lall has been instrumental in major bilateral defence deals worth around $18 billion. This includes the procurement of 24 MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters from Lockheed Martin for the Indian Navy worth $2.6 billion, which was announced during President Donald Trump’s India visit in February.

In his capacity as vice-president and country head for India of Boeing Defense Space & Security, Lall played a key role in several mega defence deals.

Prominent among them being 10 C17 strategic lift worth $4 billion, P-8I Anti-submarine warfare aircrafts (eight and then four) worth $3 billion, 28 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinooks worth $5 billion, and 22 Harpoon missiles worth $200 million.

He was appointed to the US Federal Aviation Advisory Committee two years ago, and had overseen multiple campaigns as well as pan India strategic industrial tie-ups.

Trained as a private pilot at the Phoenix International Flight Training Center in Florida, Lall has conducted his doctoral work in collaboration with NASA.