Defense industries in Israel
In 2017, export sales by Israel’s defense industries jumped 40%, as companies in the sector reported new sales totalling $9.2 billion last year. Israel's Defense Industries was dominated by four companies, three of them owned by the government. The companies are: Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Elbit, Rafael, and Israel Military Industries (IMI). Elbit purchased IMI and is now the largest defense firm in Israel.
The substantial increase in defense industry sales was due, in part, thanks to some very large sales — including the sale of Barak missiles to India. That acquisition alone was responsible for $2.5 billion in sales. The increase in the sales is also due to a worldwide trend of increasing arms expenditures. These increasing expenditures are expected to continue. Moreover, Israel’s overall reputation as a world technology leader has helped Israel break into new markets.
Israel's defense industry companies are going to need to expand their export market to compensate for lower local purchases that will result from the change in the US defense package. The newest US defense aid package calls for a cutback in funds that can be spent in Israel, forcing Israel to spend more of its aid in the United States. Approximately $500 million in annual sales are at risk due to that change
Israel’s Defense sales dropped to $7.5 billion in 2018. This is down 18% from the record $9.1 billion sale of exports in 2017. The most significant drop was from sales to the Asian Pacific region, which dropped 35%, from $5.3 billion in 2017, to $3.45 billion in 2018. Sales to Africa also dropped in 2017, from 5% of total exports in 2018, to 2%. Compensating for the decrease in sales to Asia was an 18% increase to North America, a 2% increase in sales to Europe and a doubling of sales to Latin America.
In 2019 defense sales reached $7.2 Billion.