Israeli UAS industry at crucial junction

Technology is not enough to survive. Israeli unmanned air systems (UAS) manufacturers are at a critical junction.

While they have technology that results in very advanced capabilities, most of them may lack the necessary mass to be able to continue and compete in the world market.

While the consolidation of aerospace and defence industries was stopped at the Israeli border, it seems that in the case of UAS it will have to cross it – and fast.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit Systems, Aeronautics, BlueBird, Innocon and UVision are developing new systems, but the market is getting tougher. The Israeli companies not only have to compete with American and European rivals, they must also fight with each other, and this is reflected in the prices they quote to potential customers.

Recently, again, there has been talk about the need to join forces. This would not be easy. IAI is state owned, while the other companies are private – and this is but one hurdle.

The only solution would be pressure from the Israeli ministry of defence, which must approve every presentation of an Israeli-made UAS, let alone its export.

This pressure has not been applied, and the situation worries all the manufacturers. They see the growing competition and they see heavy clouds on the horizon.

I know that without external help or pressure, the process of joining forces will not even begin.

If the process is not started soon, some of the Israeli UAS manufacturers may find themselves with a very big problem.

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