Posts Tagged Israel arms companies

Israeli Companies Mess Up Drone Deal With Colombia

Israeli companies have tried to sell drones to Colombia, but squabbling between them resulted in the Colombian government withdrawing the tender.

Amid price undercutting, and televised accusations that Elbit Systems bribed Colombian officials, the process seems to have fallen apart. That even after a General in the Israeli Defense Forces visited Colombia twice to try to patch things up. General Udi Shani even offered to make the deal a government to government deal, to ensure that problems would be sorted out.

Showing just how integrated Israeli arms companies are with the Israeli government, former Israeli Finance director general Amos Yaron was quoted in Good Morning Colombia as saying:  “Our defense industries waste too much money competing against each other.” Yaron has previously forced Elbit and IAI to work together on a contract to supply UAVs to Turkey.

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Chile Buys Drones from Israel

Chile is buying medium and long range UAV’s, with radar and thermal imaging capabilities,  in a competion that is now shortlisted to three Israeli companies. Almost certainly these would include Elbit Systems, and IAI, but the third Israeli company is unknown at the moment.

It isn’t certain which drones are being compared, nor is it clear how big the contract is, and how many drones the Chilean military plans to buy.

This adds to a long list of countries that have purchased Israeli drones.

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Sales, not purchases, make Israel’s military strong

While the anti war movement and Palestinian solidarity movement have long decried sales of arms to Israel, it is purchases from the Israeli military industrial complex which funds Israeli weapons development and helps to make the Israeli military one of the most powerful in the world.

In this sense the Watchkeeper contract was a billion dollar cash infusion to the Israeli high tech weapons industry, and arguably more responsible  for continued Israeli military dominance than an equivalent arms gift from the US.

Israel has been a hotbed of innovation in the arms sector, as it has been necessary to contrive new ways to maintain its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and to defend itself from its myriad enemies.

This article,explains the role the military has played in Israel’s high tech boom. At the mercy of arms sales boycotts, Israel was often forced to design and build its own weapons, and this has often been financed by sales to a wide range of countries, including such unlikely places as Iran.

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Watchkeeper no benign surveillance vehicle.

The Watchkeeper drone is no benign surveillance vehicle.

It can fly up to 20,000 feet, unheard from the ground, with high resolution video capability. It has radar that makes it able to see through cloud cover, and monitor vehicles 20 kilometres away.

Although the UK Watchkeepers will initially not be armed, the drone is an integral part of the killing system of the UK forces, able to locate and designate targets for destruction by other forces or weapons.

“We need more technical equipment to have 24/7 surveillance and the ability to target these people and kill them, if necessary, when they are laying these devices,” Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt, the outgoing head of the British Army, said in the London Daily Telegraph and other publications.” Source

MOD is considering arming Watchkeeper.

“A top British defense official revealed in November that the U.K. is considering arming the aircraft. ”We are currently conducting analysis to investigate the contribution that an armed Watchkeeper UAV system could make in current and future operations as part of its routine capability planning process,” said Ann Taylor, minister for international defense and security, under questioning from Lord Lewis Moonie, former junior minister for science and technology in the Ministry of Defence.

In a later statement, the MoD said: “We are still at an early stage of considering the benefits to current and future operations of arming Watchkeeper, and so as yet no decisions regarding which munitions should be used have been made.”Source

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Watchkeeper Testing and Training and Deployment

Watchkeeper is an updated Hermes 450, which Israel’s Elbit Systems has sold or leased to many armed forces, and which has been used over the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza. Elbit will be a key player in the development of Watchkeeper which contains much Elbit technology. It also owns 51% of U-TacS, which builds Watchkeeper, and will have a large part to play in the operation and maintenance of the Watchkeeper fleet. Unsurprisingly, Thales takes the lead in publicising Watchkeeper, no doubt due to the sensitivities about having an Israeli company so integrally involved in UK arms purchases.

The new Watchkeeper was initially tested in Israel at Elbit’s test flying range at Megiddo, Israel.   The purpose of the Israeli tests was to make sure that the Watchkeeper was safe to fly in the UK. (Why Israelis or Palestinians should be sacrificed to keep Britons safe wasn’t discussed. Perhaps they weren’t informed).

In April 2010 it was flown on a twenty minute flight at Parc Aberporth, the Qinetic test range in Wales, which was extended for the purpose.

Later, the flights will take place over Salisbury Plain and will be launched from Qinetic’s Boscombe Field facility at Salisbury. A training facility will be operated by Thales at Salisbury.

Thales claims that the Hermes have flown at +55C in Iraq, and that Watchkeeper will be tested at temperatures ranging from -34C to +49C.

Watchkeeper drones will initially be deployed along with the existing Hermes 450 drones used by the UK in operations in Afghanistan.

The Watchkeeper joint MOD/Thales Service and Training delivery teams will be based at Abbey Wood, Bristol and at Larkhill Salisbury.  They will be assisted by Thales support personnel from Leicester and Crawley. (The ones from Leicester would presumably be U-TacS employees from the Watchkeeper manufacturing facility).

Troops from 32 Regiment Royal Artillery will train at Parc Aberporth and later at Salibury, as they are the ones who will ultimately control the drones in the field. Employees from Thales (actually U-TacS?) will handle launches and landings, and military personnel will handle the remainder of the flight.

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Elbit Systems Builds Business in Brazil

Elbit Systems recently won a battle in Brazil to prevent the Brazilian company BRAIS from representing Israeli defense exporters in Brazil, fearing that BRAIS’s relations with competitor IAI would favour that company. Source.

Elbit’s Brazilian arm is Aeroelectronica Industria de Componentes Avionicos SA. , or AEL. It’s main contract is the modernisation of Brazil’s F-5 aircraft, and electronics for Brazil’s new AL-X aircraft. It is a relatively small company, but Elbit CEO Yossi Ackerman claims to be involved with projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the military (including drones) and space industries in Brazil.

In November Shimon Peres and a delegation of Israelis visited Brazil on a business promotion tour. On March 15, 2010, Brazilian president Lula Da Silva and many Brazilian business people started a visit to Israel.

There appears to be a major thrust to build business links between Israel and Brazil.

Lula criticised Israeli policy on the West Bank and Gaza and a report of his visit can be seen here.

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Elbit Systems Financial Success, Selling Death

Elbit Systems is one of Israel’s biggest and most successful companies, with revenues of $2.83 Billion, up 7.4% from the previous year. Most of these revenuse were from aircraft systems, (principally drones), electro-optics, and ‘command, control, communication, computer, and intelligence’ systems.

Head of Elbit Systems, Joseph Ackerman described its corporate strategy thus:

“Over the past few years, our R&D efforts and investments were based on our analysis of the direction of the global defense industry. Our read has so far proven us correct and we invested in areas which have become relevant in today’s market environment. In particular, we correctly foresaw the shift of defense budgets into unmanned vehicles and systems as well as the digitization of the battlefield, and have built up significant competitive assets in these areas. We continued to broaden our product range, our operations and customer base are becoming even more global, and we are continually enhancing our foundation as one of the leaders in the defense electronics industry. Looking ahead, we believe that Elbit Systems is well positioned strategically, operationally, and financially for the coming years.” Ref

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