by Yona Schnitzer
Israel’s defense industries exported some $9.2 billion worth of arms in 2017, a massive 40 percent increase over the previous year.
The majority of the deals signed were with customers in Asia and the Pacific, which account for 58 percent of all Israeli defense exports, with Europe coming in second at 21 percent, North America at 14 percent, Africa at 5 percent and Latin America at 2 percent.
“In recent years, Asia has constituted a central pillar in Israel’s arms exports,” said International Defense Cooperation Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense (SIBAT) Director Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Mishel Ben Baruch, adding that “this is a global trend, and of course there is competition with other countries, but thanks to the quality and prestige of our systems, we are able to compete in those markets.”
According to Ben Baruch, SIBAT and the Defense Ministry “put a strong emphasis” on cooperation between Israel’s various industries in order to achieve significant advantages over other competitors.
Aerial defense systems constituted 31 percent of all deals signed and radar systems accounted for 17 percent. Israeli drones only accounted for two percent of the contracts; however, aviation enhancement equipment deals mounted to 14 percent of all contracts signed. The remaining 36 percent was divided up between infantry related equipment, intelligence and cyber systems, optical surveillance equipment, and naval and satellite systems, both accounting for just 1 percent each.
“Within two years, we have increased defense exports by 40 percent. This is an extraordinary achievement by any standard, made possible by the hard work of SIBAT, the defense industries, and a series of agreements with countries that have shown confidence in the Ministry of Defense’s capabilities and creativity,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. The deals signed in 2017 “will enable us to increase research and development budgets, to create new jobs, and most importantly, to promise the superiority of the IDF,” Liberman added.