By ARIE EGOZI
Large contracts signed by Israeli aerospace companies in 2012 were the main source for the record in the Israeli defence exports last year – 7.47 billion u.s $.
Israeli sources estimated that without the restrictions on the export of some systems defined as “Israeli defence only” the number could have gone up “dramatically”
The increase in defence exports is very significant considering the sharp decline in defence budgets in many countries due to the ongoing economic crisis.
“The defence export last year was in some ways a surprise to many in the defence establishment . Israel managed to keep its place in the “big ten” largest exporters of defence systems ” an Israeli source said.
Defence exports have more than doubled from the $3.5 billion in 2003.
Israel’s main defence market in 2012 was the Asia-Pacific market. There were also large deals with countries such as India and Azerbaijan, mostly by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) .
Israeli defense exports to the Asia-Pacific market totaled $4 billion in 2012. Contracts worth $3.5 billion were signed with the US, Canada, and countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
Radars, missiles, and air defense systems (including anti-aircraft systems) accounted for 49% of defense exports in 2012. Unmanned air systems (UAS) accounted for 3% of defence exports. Israeli companies manufacture a great number of UAS and Israeli sources say that the export of these UAS put Israel in a second place immediately after the u.s.
The sources added that with to continued restriction of acquisition budgets in many countries and the growing competition especially from the u.s, Israel will have to work hard to keep its place among the “Big Ten”