Market competition can be a blessing – but when it turns to an all-out war, the blessing is lost and only damage results.
That is exactly what is happening in the Israeli unmanned air system (UAS) industry. There is an out-of-control war between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems, Israel’s two largest UAS manufacturers.
The situation is related to allegations brought against Poland’s former deputy minister of defence, Gen Waldemar Skrzypczak, three months ago, who was forced to resign after an investigation by the Polish authorities. The investigation focused on allegations that the former deputy defence minister has preferred Elbit Systems’ Hermes -450 UAS. IAI complained and that initiated the investigation.
The former deputy defence minister told the local press that all his actions were for the “wellbeing of the Polish army”.
To minimise the damage, the Israeli ministry of defence revoked the export licenses of the two Israeli companies for the Polish market. This unprecedented step was taken by the ministry of defence as the continuing fight between IAI and Elbit reached a new peak.
A similar incident happened a few years ago when IAI and Elbit competed for a UAS contract in Colombia.
Israeli-made UAS are already in use in Poland. These include the Aerostar and Orbiter mini-UAS made by Aeronautics Defence Systems.
A source claimed that a letter from the director general of Israeli ministry of defence to the presidents of IAI and Elbit referred only to UAS. “They can offer other systems to Poland,” the source said.
This comment was out of context as the war between these two major companies has a considerable “collateral” damage in the UAS market.