Israel is largest drone exporter in the world

IAI instructor controls drone

By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Israel is the largest exporter of drones in the world, a leading industry consultancy firm announced Sunday.

In the past eight years, sales of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles have totaled 4.62 billion dollars, according to figures.

The company said it included in its calculations products, services and licenses sold to other countries that enable them to produce their own drones. Those type of transactions made up almost 10 percent of Israel’s defense exports, it added.

The main reason for the growth in Israeli exports is the decrease of global importers on the US Department of Defense, the company estimated.

Between 2005 and 2012, Israel’s defense exports reached about 6.1 billion dollars a years, of which drones made up some 578 million dollars annually.

Meanwhile, France is in talks with the United States and Israel to buy intelligence-gathering drones to build up a modern fleet, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday.

France’s existing hardware is outdated and its military intervention in Mali this year has exposed its shortage of surveillance drones suitable for modern warfare. The United States provided French commanders with intelligence from its drones based in Niger.

“We need this capacity in the short term. There are currently two countries in the world that build drones, the United States and Israel,” Le Drian said on TV channel iTele.

“We are in discussions with each to buy some straight away,” he said.

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