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Israel announces surge in defence exports to Arab countries

Israeli defence exports. (Israeli Ministry of Defense )

The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced record defence exports for 2022, saying the contracts agreed on totalled USD12.5 billion, up from USD11.4 billion in 2021, which was itself a record high.

The figures the MoD released on 14 June on the regions buying Israeli military products showed a massive increase in the ‘Abraham Accords' category, from USD853 million (7% of the total) in 2021 to USD2.962 billion (24%) in 2022, as well as a significant decrease in the Europe category, from USD4.645 billion (41%) to USD3.67 billion (29%).

The Abraham Accords category refers to the three Arab countries that normalised relations with Israel in 2020 – Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The only significant contract reported in 2022 was one from the UAE for the Rafael Spyder air-defence system, with Reuters citing two sources as saying the Israeli government approved it in the summer.

The MoD figures for the types of exports showed a major increase in the ‘unmanned aerial vehicle' (UAV) category to 25% of the total, up from the 9% reported for 2021. This translates into a more than three-fold increase from USD1.029 billion to USD3.137 billion.

The Israeli UAV contracts announced in 2022 included three for the Elbit Hermes 900 for the Royal Thai Navy, the Brazilian Air Force, and an unidentified customer; Watchkeepers for Romania; and smaller Skylarks for the Australian Army.

The ‘observation and optronics' category also performed well, increasing from 5% to 10% of sales, while that for ‘radar and electronic warfare' increased from 9% to 13%.

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