Israel Defense Exports Up Despite Tougher Market

YERUSHALAYIM -

As 2015 began, Israel defense companies were anxious about the impact of global market conditions on exports, but final figures for the year showed a slight increase, Globes reported on Wednesday.

Defense companies concluded export deals worth $5.7 billion last year, according to figures reported today by SIBAT (the International Defense Cooperation Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense). That was a bit higher than 2014, when exports totaled $5.6 billion.

The country’s four leading defense companies, Elbit Systems, Israel Military Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries were worried about the decline of the global economy, shrinking defense markets, and tough competition.

In a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a year ago, the company chairpersons and CEOs said they feared that total defense exports could fall below the $5 billion level:

“At the end of a challenging year, and with joint determined work, we managed to keep the level of contracts signed stable,” said SIBAT director Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Mishel Ben Baruch on the release of the 2015 figures.

The leading exports included upgrading of airplanes and the sale of ammunition and weapons platforms.

In addition, cyber technology has taken on growing importance, with strong demand for cybersecurity systems, smart city management and components designed to prevent crime and terrorism and protect sensitive installations and sites where large numbers of people congregate.

The main destination of the production last year was Asia and the Pacific, where sales were $2.3 billion. Europe received over $1.6 billion in Israeli exports of weapons and systems, the U.S. and Canada over $1 billion, Latin America $577 million, and Africa $163 million.