The puzzle Israel has to complete before it exports arms

The world market for advanced defence systems is changing rapidly and any failure to keep with the pace may result in very detrimental effects on the defence and aerospace industries of a country.


This rule applies to any country that has an advanced defence industry, but Israel has a unique status in this unofficial rating.


Israel has been put into some awkward situations when trying to export its defence and aerospace systems.


The most dramatic example of this is the foiled attempt to sell two AEW aircraft to China. The aircraft built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) were ready for delivery when the USA took out the “red flag” and blocked the deal.


Since that traumatic experience in 2000, the Israeli ministry of defence is extra cautious – sometimes, according to critics, too cautious.


The developing cooperation between Russia and Israel in the unmanned air systems (UAS) field has already resulted in some “meaningful” contracts and is soon expected to go one step further.


This step will include the joint development of at least one type of UAS that will fit Russian operational needs.


Three years ago, Russia signed a contract to purchase UAS made by (IAI) that were valued around $400 million.


Deliveries of the Searcher-2 and BirdEye-400 are under way, and in parallel the Russians have built an assembly/production line as part of the contract.


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin recently expressed his satisfaction with the Israeli-Russian cooperation on UAS.


Sources familiar with this UAS cooperation said that it is part of a larger “strategic understanding” that serves both sides on a wide spectrum of issues.


One example, according to these sources, is the Russian decision not to sell different types of surface-to-air missiles to Iran.


Sources say that the planned cooperation will involve the transfer of technologies and the adaptation of UAS to operational conditions in Russia.


Russia is one of the superpowers that are foiling any attempt to stop the massacres in Syria by external military intervention. Russia is also one of the only countries that still cooperates with Iran.


Russia is behind many other international actions that anger Israel. However, in this complex world, alliances are very often formed in the most unlikely places.


So with China off the potential clients list due to an American demand, and others on that list as a result of other Israeli considerations, the market has shrunk, and has become very complex.


Any international defence contract involves a multi-piece puzzle that has to be complete before something is signed.


In some places of the world, this puzzle is very complicated and difficult to complete.

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