Israeli arms exports hit new record high of $11.3bn in 2021

An Elbit Systems Ltd. Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on display in Singapore (Seaongloon Cho - Bloomberg)

Middle East Monitor  /  April 12, 2022

Annual Israeli arms sales increased to a new record in 2021, according to Defence Ministry data released today.

The Israeli ministry’s International Defence Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) observed a sharp increase in demand for Israeli-made weapons as defence exports rose from $8.3 billion in 2020 to $11.3 billion in 2021. Exports previously hit a record high of $9.2 billion in 2017.

“Israel’s defence exports have reached double-digit figures for the first time, reaching a 55 per cent increase within two years,” Yair Kulas, the head of SIBAT, told reporters yesterday.

“Demand for Israeli defence products has risen in the past year, manifesting in the sharp increase in transactions between countries, among other things,” Kulas added.

According to The Times of Israel, Europe was the largest buyer of Israeli defence goods, ordering a total 41 per cent of exports, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 34 per cent and North America at 12 per cent.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel in 2020, accounted for seven per cent of the arms purchases. Finally, Africa and Latin America each accounted for three per cent.

“Looking ahead, shifting global priorities and partnerships such as the Abraham Accords create high demand for Israel’s cutting-edge technological systems,” Kulas said in reference to the peace deals with Arab states.

The most significant chunk of exports, at 20 per cent, were missiles, rockets and air-defence systems, followed by training services at 15 per cent.

The figures come after Israel was ranked the 10th largest international arms exporter for the past five years, according to  the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“Security relations are an integral component of Israel’s political relations and our ability to cooperate with other countries, and we work to strengthen those ties and create new security partnerships,” said Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

“The peak in defence agreements in 2021 is first and foremost a means of strengthening the security of the State of Israel,” he added.