Israeli defense exports down $1.7 billion but still above decade's average

Military exports brought in $7.5 billion in 2018 compared to $9.2 billion in 2017.

April 17, 2019 15:16
2 minute read.
IDF weapons

An IDF weapons cache. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)


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Military exports by Israel brought in $7.5 billion dollars last year, the first decline in three years which saw consecutive increases in defense exports, according to SIBAT, the military exports unit of the Defense Ministry, on Wednesday.

While that figure for 2018 was $1.7 billion less than in the previous year ($9.2 billion in contracts) it was still higher than the average for the past decade, the ministry said.

According to SIBAT, while the export amount in 2018 was lower than the previous year, it was still “another record year” for Israel’s defense exports.

“During the year, SIBAT and the defense industries, together with other defense ministry entities, signed dozens of significant contracts, including huge contracts with leading countries," the ministry said in a statement. "This is a particularly high figure in the history of Israeli defense export."

In 2018 Israeli companies exported, among others, offensive missile and missile defense systems (24%) unmanned aerial vehicles and their radar systems (15%),  radar and electronic defense systems(14%), maintenance and upgrades of equipment previously sold (14%), communications and space intelligence systems (6%) marine systems (2%), satellite and space systems (1%), according to the unit.

Other products exported by Israel included night-vision goggles, as well as cybersecurity-related products and services.

The largest distribution of Israeli defense exports was in Asia Pacific with 46% (down from 58% the previous year) followed by Europe with 15% (down from 21% in 2017), North America with 6% (down by more than half from 14%), Africa with 2% (down from 5%) and Latin America at 6%, which marked the only increase, from 2%.

A leader in defense, the world has for many years looked to the Jewish state for security and intelligence and Israel’s defense industry has leading international companies exporting to countries across the globe.

“In the past year we have signed dozens of deals with various countries around the world," said SIBAT Director Brig.-Gen. (res.) Michel Ben Baruch. "The State of Israel specializes in improving tools for air, sea and land and exports the most advanced quality systems in the world. Against this backdrop, SIBAT’s achievements and the defense industry are even greater. This is further proof of the desire of many countries to cooperate with the Israeli defense establishment and express confidence in the hi-tech capabilities of our defense industry."

According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel is the world’s eighth largest weapons exporter and the volume of Israeli defense exports over the past five years was 50% more than in the preceding five years.

Private Israeli companies, along with government ones, accounted for 3.1% of global weapons sales in 2014-2018. This is an increase from the 2.1% between 2009-2013. The report found that Israel's largest customers in 2014-2018 were India, Azerbaijan and Vietnam.

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