More than 50 Israeli companies of all sizes participated this week in the four-day international security and defense fair Eurosatory, on the outskirts of the French capital.
Israeli exhibitors said the fair opened many doors and could lead to numerous deals.
A delegation of the IDF’s land branch visited Eurosatory on Tuesday, to encourage the Israeli security industry and to take stock of what other countries are offering in this field.
Eurosatory is considered the world’s leading exhibition of products and services for land armed forces and security forces, as well as for civil security, border customs, rescue teams and private security personnel.
The previous Eurosatory was canceled because of the corona pandemic, so enthusiasm was especially noticeable this time around, with 1,000 exhibitors from 54 countries, and 25 countries setting up national pavilions.
The strong Israeli presence
Israel did not opt for its own pavilion. Rather, the Israeli companies were grouped in one zone inside the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition center.
The strong Israeli presence drew much attention. In the press room, one could hear reporters making appointments with Israeli representatives and discussing new Israeli technologies exhibited here this week.
The Israeli zone was home to much activity. Officers in uniforms and decorated generals from Europe, Africa, Asia and America mixed with salespeople in suits, exchanging business cards and WhatsApp numbers. Senior officials and delegations toured the halls, waiting patiently to speak to Israeli representatives. The sound system kept announcing presentations of new armored vehicles, innovative radars, hi-tech personalized battle gear and much more, with cocktails and snacks offered at every such event.
A French exhibitor said, “We are all competing here over the same clientele, but we are also looking for partners. The Israelis are tough competitors, as they bring excellent know-how, but are also interesting potential partners, as they are open to unorthodox combinations of technologies.’’
“We are all competing here over the same clientele, but we are also looking for partners. The Israelis are tough competitors, as they bring excellent know-how, but are also interesting potential partners, as they are open to unorthodox combinations of technologies.’’French exhibitor
Focusing on land fighting, Eurosatory takes place every second year, alternating with the prestigious Paris Air Show, which is dedicated to aviation and space.
Several Israeli companies, mostly known for their aviation and space technologies, presented at Eurosatory new products they developed, based on their missile and airplane expertise, for soldiers on the ground.
One such company was BIRD Aerosystems. Its VP for marketing and business development, Shaul Mazor, told The Jerusalem Post that Eurosatory 2022 was the best security fair the company had ever experienced, in terms of exposure and international interest.
Drawing much media coverage, the company, on the second day, signed a cooperation agreement with French security giant Safran. The two companies agreed for the Israeli Hybrid Eye all-in-one detection system to be installed on Safran’s military goggles.
The Hybrid Eye system supports the protection of armored vehicles from wide-ranging threats. The Israeli software analyzes what is seen through the goggles, and superimposes its interpretation of the space and of movements on the lenses of the goggles.
“Until recently, the company was focused on aerial protection systems and border protection systems – namely, protection of maritime and land borders, using mission planes.
“But over the past two years, with the corona, we started thinking how we can further develop our capabilities, how we can use differently and in other domains the aerial technologies we had produced over the years.
“At that point, we decided to set up a land-product division within the company, and this is what we are actually launching at the fair,” said Mazor.
He estimated that the war in Ukraine contributes to the interest in the company’s new products. “There is a deeper sensitivity now for threats targeting airplanes or vehicles.
“Europe thought that we are in a period of peace, that we are never going to see again tanks in the streets, but this perception proved wrong. We had a delegation from Switzerland today telling us that they had always kept neutral positions, but with tanks a few hundred kilometers from their borders, reality is changing.
“That is why the defense envelope we are proposing draws international interest. We see here in the fair delegations from Europe, of course, but also from the United States, Asia and the Gulf countries.
“The Abraham Accords generated an extraordinary process of legitimization, enabling them [from the Gulf] to approach us freely, to get information, to share with us their special security needs, and enable us to offer advanced solutions.”
Israel Aviation Industries had an especially large stand at Eurosatory, with people lining up by the counter for inquiries. The company was ready for such a flux, with staff prepared to dialogue in various languages.
IAI executive VP of marketing Yehuda Lahav said, “We have, for instance, the knowledge to equip any kind of military vehicle with protection that will make it autonomous, a system of sensors that will protect it, either in terms of intelligence, or on the offensive level.”
Explaining the attractiveness of IAI technologies, Lahav said, “What we are selling is a series of many innovative technologies borrowed from other spheres, combined into one complete package, which has no rivals globally.
“We offer our clients not generic solutions, but tailor-made ones, all depending on the specific threats the client is facing. It’s like a one-stop shop. We have the sensors, the communication systems, the command and control. These infrastructures come from different divisions of the IAI, but they all speak the same technological language. This homogeneity of language gives our clients easy control of the product, either from the headquarters, or to divide it into units on the ground.
“We use advanced algorithms to analyze what the sensors are capturing. Some of these products were initially developed for the domains of missiles, satellites, airplanes or drones. We managed to minimize the systems and reduce them considerably in size, so that they fit land use, and even at the level of the soldier. The idea is that the soldiers will have all of these capabilities simply on their backs, carrying the systems. In the past, radars were huge. Now the soldiers have at their disposal a small device. They can simply open a tripod, fix it, and see on their laptops the threats they are facing in the field.”
Adjacent to the IAI structure was the much smaller Gate Technologies stand. Its representatives explained that this was the first time the company had participated in such an international security exhibition.
VP business development Gal Geva said, “We are a family company that was founded by my father 30 years ago. We are small, with fewer than 20 people, but we produce very sophisticated electronic components. For example, we offer a variety of cutting-edge technologies for initiation, actuation and detonation devices that are used for missiles, rockets and other gravity-released weapons. We offer patent-pending solutions for infantry hand-placed fuses. But more than that, we took fusil technologies that were originally developed for missiles and adapted them to the level of the individual soldier. Some of these new developments are already operational.”
Located next to Gate Technologies was the stand of veteran satellite company Gilat Telecom. VP government division Ami Schneider said that he saw a clear increase in the demand for Gilat Telecom’s satellite solutions, especially in the European market, but not only.
“Demand seems to be growing for our products across Europe. Here at the fair, we are presenting tactical satellite-communication systems that enable connecting any sort of radio to another, from anywhere in the world. The main challenge of radios is the distance. Thus, when you are at a remote place, too remote for the radio to capture, satellites can bridge the distances.
“These technologies can serve not just armies but also rescue missions, emergency teams, police and firefighters. With our technology, geography won’t prevent them from being in contact. This is typically useful for soldiers on the ground, but also for homeland security and first responders to situations of crisis or any kind of emergency.”
Like IAI, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems had a large pavilion at Eurosatory. Next to its pavilion were stands of daughter companies or partner companies to Rafael, such as DND, EuroTrophy and Eurospike, all based in Germany.
Rafael’s VP for marketing and business development Gideon Weiss explained, “Our strength is that we offer not only cutting-edge, sophisticated technologies, but also the transfer of know-how, integration of systems in place, and even production in the client country. We don’t only sell, but we work with the client. Our key word is ‘localization.’”
Weiss added that by creating a production chain that includes local companies, Rafael has managed to expand its market considerably.
Much like BIRD and IAI, Rafael also plays on both fields – in the air and on the ground. Its Spike-series missiles reflect this duality. Hanging on the wall are missiles in all sizes. The missile is available in man-portable, vehicle-launched, and helicopter-launched variants.
The last ones I spoke with were the representatives of Tomer, a fairly new government-owned company. When the state sold its security industries to Elbit, it decided to hold on to the division that develops rocket propulsion systems.
VP marketing, business development and regulation Dotan Gabay said, “We launch satellites, the Arrow missiles, and other tactical rockets and missiles.”
Gabay said the company’s rocket propulsion technology is very much in demand in Europe and elsewhere, as nothing can reach the skies without such a technology.