Israel's defense sales grew 40 percent over past year

The majority of the new contracts that have been signed in the Asia-Pacific region were due to an increased focus on terror.

May 2, 2018 17:00
2 minute read.
Second Lt. Jennifer Slade stands in front of an Air Defense Delta Battery

Second Lt. Jennifer Slade stands in front of an Air Defense Delta Battery. (photo credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM)


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Israel's military exports rose by 40 percent in 2017, bringing in $9.2 billion in contracts, marking the third consecutive year of increased defense exports, Sibat, the military exports unit of the Defense Ministry, said Wednesday.

"This is a significant achievement for the Israeli defense export, which attests, above all, to the esteem and prestige accorded to the Israeli defense industries around the world, and the demand that their products have for their products," said SIBAT Director Brig.-Gen.(Res.) Michel Ben-Baruch.

"The Israeli defense industries are highly respected and trusted in the world, thanks to advanced and high quality technologies based on unique solutions proven by the IDF,” Ben-Baruch added.

According to SIBAT, in 2017 Israeli companies exported missiles aerial defense systems (31%),  radar systems (17%), avionics (14%), dry ammunition (9%), communications systems (9%), observation and optics (8%), UAVs (2%),  marine systems (1%), satellites and space (1%).

The largest distribution of Israeli defense exports was in Asia Pacific, with 58 percent, followed by Europe with 21 percent, North America with 14 percent, Africa with 5 percent and Latin America at 2 percent.

The majority of the new contracts that have been signed in the Asia-Pacific region were due to an increased focus on terror. Several other significant government-to-government contracts were signed for the same reason, strengthening Israel’s position in the global defense market.

Ben-Baruch stated that Israel is in the top ten of defense exporters in the world and a recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) ranked Israel as the fifth largest arms supplier in the world, following the US, Russia, France and Germany.

According to SIPRI, India remains Israel’s largest weapons market buying various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years. Until recently most of the transactions have been kept quiet, but ties have quietly shifted and the east-Asian country has become one of Israel’s largest buyers of military hardware with defense deals worth $715 million in 2017.

According to the database, Vietnam is Israel’s second largest customer, having purchased $142m. in arms in 2017. Azerbaijan – a Muslim-majority country on Iran’s border – is the third largest weapons market for Israel, having bought $137m. worth in 2017.  The Philippines emerged as a major market for Israel for the first time in 2017, having spent $21m. on radar and antitank systems.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hailed the “extraordinary accomplishment” by SIBAT and Israel’s defense industry that has signed a series of contracts with countries around the globe.

Those contracts, Liberman said, “have given confidence to the Defense Ministry's capabilities and creativity. This achievement will enable us to increase research and development budgets, to create new jobs, and mainly to ensure the IDF's superiority over the years ahead.”

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