TEL AVIV, Israel — Given Europe's intensified needs for intelligence, homeland security and coalition defense capabilities, Israel's Ministry of Defense anticipates high interest in locally developed, operationally proven technologies on display at the biannual Eurosatory exhibition opening Monday in Paris.
From airborne systems and tactical radars to cyber and force protective ground maneuvering capabilities, Israeli firms can expect a competitive edge in part due to their government's willingness to allow considerable transfer of technology and operational knowledge, says Mishel Ben Baruch, Defense Ministry director for exports and international cooperation.
"We are very active in helping our industry translate common challenges into meaningful partnerships that answer growing counterterror and homeland security needs," Ben Baruch told Defense News.
"In many places around the globe, we are finding tremendous interest in Israeli technologies that can defend these countries and their interests."
Ben Baruch noted that at Eurosatory, Israel's national pavilion will feature 30 firms, from small and midsize enterprises to large companies.
"All are offering innovative and advanced technologies. … And it's not just a matter of selling. We are certainly open to the type of cooperation that increasingly demands joint production and a transfer of certain knowledge."
According to Israel's MoD, Israeli firms concluded 2015 with US $5.7 billion in new contracts, a slight rise from the previous year, when new contracts totaled $5.66 billion. He expects 2016 to yield similar results.
"We forecast 2016 exports to remain stable, and that is a nontrivial expectation considering the global budgetary environment and challenges of the market," he said.
Ben Baruch flagged Israel's leading role in the field of robotics, C4ISR, cyber, air- and missile-defense systems as areas ripe for future cooperation.
Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., the nation's largest state-owned defense firm, will be exhibiting an array of homeland security defense systems as well as a full spectrum of radars for ground, air and naval missions by its subsidiary Elta Systems.
IMI's Iron Fist Active Protection System is demonstrated on a light vehicle.
Photo Credit: IMI
Other state-owned firms participating in Eurosatory include Rafael Ltd., developers of the high-profile Iron Dome anti-rocket system. At the Paris event, Rafael will feature Trophy, an active protection system (APS) that defends tanks and armored personnel carriers against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. The firm is also highlighting its family of Spike electro-optic, multipurpose anti-tank missiles.
And Israel Military Industries Ltd. will present numerous land warfare systems, including Iron Fist, which was recently selected by the US Army for demonstration in the service's Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) program.
Israel typically exports approximately 80 percent of its defense industrial capacity, with 20 percent of capacity contracted in support of its domestic market.
In 2015, according to MoD, Europe ranked as the second largest market for Israeli exporters as a whole, with some $1.63 billion of the $5.7 billion in new contracts secured for the year.