With record-breaking arms sales, Israeli defense firms put tech on display in Paris

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The Defense Ministry on Monday presented a wide array of technologies from a range of defense companies at Israel’s national pavilion at the 2023 Paris Air Show, as officials touted that Israeli arms sales had reached new records last year.

The exhibition at France’s Paris–Le Bourget Airport, held every other year, is considered one of the largest and most important in the world, with this year’s event including over 2,500 companies and 150,000 officials exhibiting their latest products.

Seventeen Israeli companies were displaying their technologies at the show, in the fields of air defense systems, drones, radar and laser technologies, missile warning systems, and command and control solutions, according to a statement by SIBAT, the International Defense Cooperation Directorate at the Defense Ministry.

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony for the Israeli national pavilion, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel was constantly developing new military technologies to counter Iran.

“Israel’s ability to face threats is determined by the dedicated individuals who tirelessly work to develop state-of-the-art technology,” he said. “This ongoing and highly challenging battle of intellect mostly takes place behind the scenes. In recent years, this intellectual contest has been gaining momentum, and I can confidently affirm that Israel surpasses its adversaries in both defensive and offensive capabilities,” Gallant said.

“Iran is closer than ever to gaining military-nuclear capabilities, and it is conducting a war of attrition against us by engaging in proxy terrorism. This clear strategy aims to destabilize not only the region but also the world. In response to Iran’s efforts, the Israeli defense establishment is working to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, utilizing all the resources at our disposal,” he added.

A replica of Rafael’s Sky Sonic hypersonic interceptor missile is seen at the Israel national pavilion at the Paris Air Show, June 19, 2023. (Rafael)

Noting the sharp increase in Israeli arms sales in recent years, Yair Kulas, the head of SIBAT, said ahead of the inauguration that Israel is “honored to participate in this esteemed exhibition and looks forward to further fruitful collaborations with our counterparts.”

Annual Israeli arms sales reached a new record of $12.5 billion in 2022, according to Defense Ministry figures released Wednesday. Officials noted the demand for Israeli-made weapons due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, and an uptick in interest by Arab nations that recently normalized ties with Israel.

Israeli companies exhibiting at the pavilion include Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and Tomer, among several other smaller companies.

At the pavilion, Rafael presented its first-of-its-kind anti-hypersonic missile defense system, which it first revealed to reporters on Wednesday. The company said the Sky Sonic interceptor missile, which has been in development for around three years, would be conducting first test flights in the near future.

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