Tomcar, an off-road utility vehicles created in Israel in the 1980s, will open a US assembly line in El Paso, Texas, early next year to offer its latest models to the US Armed Forces, thanks to a cooperation agreement between Prince Manufacturing and Comframe Solutions. Named after Tom, son of inventor Yoram Zarhi, the first Tomcar was built to serve as a motor toy for a boy. When asked if Tom is involved in the company today, executive partner at Comframe Solutions Lital Leshem laughs and says that Tom is actually a pilot now. “His older brother Ram runs the company’s Arizona branch,” she said. “The original toy made for him is still on display at their factory in Givat Hashlosha,” she told The Jerusalem Post. Comframe is focused on recognizing needs in the US defense industry and matching them to possible solutions, usually involving innovative Israeli companies.However, to meet the demands of American security needs, one must have an American entity. “Ram had been living in Phoenix for 15 years,” Leshem told the Post, “but he can’t do that, [because he’s not a US citizen]. We can.” Thanks to cooperation with Prince Manufacturing, which has three decades of experience in Mexican-US businesses, Tomcar will open a production center in Juarez and an assembly line in El Paso, where the new models will be put together, thus gaining “Made in the USA” status.Prince Manufacturing also works with Ford and Volvo, to name but two firms. This will mean hundreds of new jobs to American workers in 2021 thanks to the Israeli-inspired company. “We sell to the US Special Forces and other branches of the service,” Leshem explained. “Each model has to be built according to the specific needs it is meant to answer. The new models can carry 1.5 tons, meaning five large men and their gear.”She further explains that if a civilian-usage Tomcar in Israel breaks down, it can always be taken to the factory to be repaired. But Tomcars meant to see heavy-duty action in Iraq or Afghanistan have to be very durable and reliable, as spare parts may not be immediately available – and the safety of the men and the success of the mission come first. The US, Leshem said, controls 70% of NATO’s defense industry. While civilians are able to close deals and get funding in Zoom meetings during the age of COVID-19, she points out that when the sale is of things related to national security, one still has to have “boots on the ground,” so to speak. “Hi-tech companies like Toka” – which creates innovative intelligence gathering tools – “with clients like the CIA, can’t discuss what they do using Zoom,” she said.