In a Middle-Eastern landscape marked by uncertainty and conflict, Israeli defence companies, including Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), are actively expanding their presence on the global stage.

Despite challenges posed by regional hostilities and calls for arms embargoes, these companies have secured contracts and formed partnerships, demonstrating their resilience to advancing defence technologies.

According to GlobalData’s intelligence on the Israeli defence market, four key players dominate the industry: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit Systems, and Israel Military Industries (IMI), which Elbit recently acquired. 

Abhijit Apsingikar, aerospace, defence, and security analyst at GlobalData, provided commentary on Israel’s defence industry following the start of conflicts within the country, “The Israeli defence industry heavily relies on exports, with about 70% of production earmarked for international markets, primarily in Asia. 

Despite the ongoing conflict, Israeli defence exports to key markets like India, Azerbaijan, and the Philippines are unlikely to be impacted, given established ties and joint development projects. However, a prolonged conflict could strain relations with countries like the UAE, Bahrain, and others, potentially affecting future defence contracts and partnerships, particularly in the Middle East and Latin America.”

A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on May 10, 2023. Israel and Gaza militants traded cross-border fire. Source: Anas-Mohammed/Shutterstock

Elbit Systems’ role amidst a trio of Israeli defence companies

Following the October 7 2023 Hamas-led attack on Israel, Elbit Systems, a defence technology company, has been actively involved in supplying military hardware to various nations.

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At the end of October 2023, the Swedish Army chose Elbit Systems Sweden as its integration partner for the LSS Mark digitisation programme, a deal worth approximately $170m (Skr1.8bn). Elbit Systems will oversee the Army’s command and control systems’ integration, installation, maintenance, and upgrade. 

Elbit Systems of America secured a $500m contract from the US Department of Defense to supply Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle (SBNVG) systems to the US Marine Corps. Elbit Systems also secured an approximately $37m contract to deliver Iron Fist active protection systems (APS) to support modernising the US Army’s Bradley M2A4E1 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).

Staying within North America, Airbus Defense and Space collaborated with Elbit Systems to enhance the security features of MRTT A330 refuelling aircraft for Canada. This multi-million dollar deal involved the installation of Direct Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM) and Infrared Missile Warning Systems. 

In December, Elbit Systems, in partnership with CN ROMARM SA, will establish a Romanian Artillery Center to focus on producing Elbit Systems’ 155mm ATMOS advanced mobile Howitzers.

Elbit Systems plans to launch a Romanian Artillery Center, focusing on manufacturing the 155mm ATMOS advanced mobile Howitzers. Source: Elbit Systems

In October 2023, Elbit Systems secured a $135m (NIS502m) contract to establish another artillery ammunition factory for an unnamed international customer. Furthermore, in May 2024, Elbit Systems was awarded a $50m contract to supply its Red Sky air defence system to an undisclosed international military customer. The Red Sky, a tactical VSHORAD system, protects against low-altitude air-based threats. 

In May 2024, Elbit Systems secured a $53m contract to provide Crossbow Unmanned Turreted 120mm soft recoil mortar systems for an undisclosed European defence customer.

Amongst this, Elbit Systems reported an 8% revenue growth in its full-year financials for 2023. With revenues reaching $5.97bn, the company saw growth across sectors, including aerospace, C4I, cyber, ISTAR, EW, and land systems. Elbit Systems’ order backlog increased to $17.8bn, reflecting sustained demand for its defence technologies. 

Rafael’s response to recent events 

Rafael has issued six press releases since the attack. Moreover, they rejected my interview request when I attended the ITEC 2024 conference.

One development involved a collaboration between Raytheon, an RTX business, and Rafael to establish a missile production facility in Arkansas. This facility will manufacture the Tamir missile for the Iron Dome Weapon System and its US counterpart, SkyHunter.

Israel acquired the Iron Dome platform-based missile defence system between 2011 and 2013, according to GlobalData’s “Israel Defense Market 2023-2028” report. 

The Iron Dome platform-based missile defence system was procured by Israel from 2011 to 2013. Source: Rafael

Rafael successfully tested the Spyder air defence system’s latest configuration in another advancement, known as the “All In One.” This configuration integrates various components onto a single platform, including radar, electro-optical launcher, control system, and interceptor missiles. The test showcased the system’s capability to intercept ground-launched threats.

Despite these developments, Rafael’s public engagement remains limited. 

IAI’s position amidst ongoing conflict

Amidst tensions following the Hamas-led attack on Israel, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) finds itself at the centre of advancements in defence technology. Despite mounting pressure to halt arms sales to Israel, IAI remains resilient, securing contracts and forging new partnerships.

At the Dubai Airshow 2023, Israeli defence companies, including IAI, faced empty exhibition stands amidst calls for an arms embargo on Israel. However, IAI responded, securing $145m in agreements for long-range loitering munitions, showcasing global demand for Israeli defence technology despite the crisis in Israel.

Further demonstrating its global reach, IAI signed a deal with the Royal Thai Navy to supply advanced sea Mini-POP sensors. In the Czech Republic, IAI faces pressure to deliver 3D radar capabilities. Additionally, IAI solidified a 20-year partnership with the Czech Ministry of Defence to safeguard Mission Multirole Radar (MMR) systems.

Looking to the future, IAI joined forces with Aerotor Unmanned Systems to advance drone technology for tactical military missions.

With a focus on growth, Elbit Systems, Rafael, and IAI continue to navigate challenges while holding their positions as players in the defence industry. Through their collaborative efforts and solutions, these Israeli companies continue to shape defence technology and strengthen global security in an increasingly volatile world.