Israel marks record defense exports in 2010

Exports reach $7.2 billion, making Israel one of the world's top four exporters of arms; 15 Israeli companies to display at Paris Air Show.

311_Panther UAV (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
311_Panther UAV
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israeli industries noted a record on Wednesday in defense exports, reaching an unprecedented $7.2 billion in comparison to $6.9b. in 2009, the Defense Ministry announced ahead of the Paris Air Show, which opens next week.
Israel is believed to be one of the world’s top four exporters of arms with specializations in the development and production of unmanned aerial vehicles, mini satellites, command-and-control systems, armored vehicles and the refurbishment of various types of commercial and military aircraft.
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Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shmaya Avieli, head of SIBAT, the Defense Ministry’s Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Department, expressed satisfaction with the financial results for 2010 but said Israel is still facing a number of challenges due to the continued global economic crisis and the expected coalition withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We recognize the challenges but are working hard to maintain the level we are currently at and even to increase it,” Avieli said on Wednesday.
In total, Israeli defense companies sold $9.6b. worth of military hardware in 2010, out of which $2.4b. went to the IDF. In recent years, defense industries have invested in establishing joint ventures and partnerships in South America, Asia and South Korea.
Fifteen Israeli companies will set up exhibits at the air show, including a number of small and medium-sized companies that will be in Paris for the first time. SIBAT recently established a new “small business” division aimed at assisting smaller Israeli companies to break into the international defense market.
The Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system will be one of the main attractions in the Israeli pavilion. The Iron Dome succeeded in intercepting nine Kassam and Katyusha rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel in April.
Defense Ministry director-general Udi Shani said the Iron Dome’s success served as potential for new growth in future exports.