Israeli annual export sales of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) averaged US $578 million over the past eight years and should grow by up to 10 percent yearly through 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan. (Frost & Sullivan)
TEL AVIV — Israeli annual export sales of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) averaged US $578 million over the past eight years and should grow by up to 10 percent yearly through 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan.
In a May 19 report, the Tel Aviv branch of the international consulting firm calculated Israeli UAS export contracts of US $4.62 billion from 2005-2012, nearly 10 percent of overall defense trade over the eight-year period.
According to the firm, Europe leads Israelís UAS market, with slightly more than half of global sales. Asia Pacific countries constitute Israelís second largest UAS market, with some 33.3 percent of sales, followed by South America, North America and Africa.
Eran Flumin, director of Frost & Sullivanís Tel Aviv office, said projected annual expansion of Israelís UAS export market was based on a combination of intensifying international demand, U.S. export license restrictions and aggressive Israeli marketing and investment activities.
ďIsraeli defense exports are expected to grow as Israeli firms continue to sign strategic partnership agreements with foreign firms and invest heavily in key markets,such as Africa, Asia Pacific and South America,where UAS demand continues to expand.Ē
Fluminís organization identified some 20 firms involved heavily in Israelís UAS platform, payload and support systems sector, including industry leaders Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Israel Defense, a monthly magazine based here, has calculated more than 36 Israeli-designed production or prototype systems on offer for the local and export market, with payloads weighing less than a kilo to 1 ton.
35 Years Operational Experience
Israel was the worldís first nation to operate UAVs with its 1978 fielding and 1982 combat use of the IAI Scout during the Lebanon War. The IAI Pioneer, a follow-on to Scout, was the first tactical UAV purchased by the US military. Designated RQ-2, the system debuted operationally in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and flew tens of thousands of hours in contingency operations with the US Navy, Marine Corps and Army before it was retired in 2007.
Over the years, IAI UAVs have clocked more than 1.1 million operational flight hours through 49 users worldwide, including India, Turkey, Brazil, Russia and Azerbaijan. Seven nations flew IAI-produced UAVs in support of ISAF operations in Afghanistan, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Spain.
As for Elbit, Israelís fastest growing, non-state-owned aerospace and defense electronics firm, the Hermes 450 is now flown by 10 nations, three of whom have deployed the system in Afghanistan. Elbitís Hermes 450 serves as the basis for the UKís Project Watchkeeper, where the Haifa-based firm is teamed with prime contractor Thales.
Yavne, Israel-based Aeronautics ranks third among Israelís UAS-producing sector, with sales or power-by-the-hour leasing of its Aerostar and Orbiter systems to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia and other nations in Europe and Africa.