Israeli arms sales drop to $7.2 billion in 2019, face potential virus squeeze – The Times of Israel

Israeli arms sales dropped for the second straight year in 2019, according to Defense Ministry figures released Monday, with weapons exports facing potential headwinds this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate, known as SIBAT, said defense exports totaled $7.2 billion last year, down from $7.5 billion in 2018. Exports hit a record high of $9.2 billion in 2017 owing to several large deals.

“Despite the challengers and the fierce international competition, we succeeded in keeping Israel among the 10 leading defense exporters in the world,” Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Yair Kulas, the head of SIBAT, said in a statement.

In a briefing with reporters, Kulas described the scope of arms sales the past two years as the “continuation of a stable trend.”

The Asia-Pacific region remained the largest purchaser of Israeli defense goods, buying 41 percent of total exports, followed by Europe at 26% and North America at 25%. Africa and Latin America each accounted for 4% of arms purchases.

A Barak-8 missile, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries is launched during a test (IAI).

At 17%, radar and electronic warfare systems made up the largest chunk of exports, followed by rockets and air-defense systems at 15%. Exports of unmanned aerial vehicles and drones amounted to 8% of all