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Israel’s Islands of Excellence: The Isle of Aerospace


Israel is famed for its excellence spanning various sectors and industries, by virtue of its highly-skilled workforce, entrepreneurial thinking, groundbreaking research capabilities, high concentration of MNCs, collaborations with the Israeli academy, its defense industry and advanced manufacturing abilities.

This has culminated in the development of Israel's Islands of Excellence, a manifestation of excellent performances, high growth rates and significant manufacturing potential, based on the following fields: medical and cosmetic laser; advanced manufacturing in the plastics industry; batteries for electric vehicles; metrology and testing in the semi-conductor industry; digital and 3D printing; robotics; composite materials for aviation; and UAVs and drones.

In a series of blogs aimed at showcasing Israel's islands of excellence, our next focus will center on Israel's aerospace industry, specifically its unmanned aerial vehicle and drone industry, considered one of the country's preeminent areas of expertise.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Drones

Israel is considered a super-power in the field of aerospace, particularly in UAVs and drones, a sector which accounts for approximately 10% of Israel's defense exports. Moreover, Israel is ranked first in the world in terms of exports of aircraft systems.

A segmentation of export targets from recent years shows that 50% of the export of Israeli UAVs was directed to the European market, 33% of the exports were destined for Asia and the Pacific, 11% for South America, 4% for North America and 2% for Africa. A partial list of customers from all over the world who have already acquired UAVs manufactured in Israel includes: Switzerland, Germany, France, Britain, Portugal, India, Finland, Colombia, Spain, Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey, Chile and Ethiopia.

Between 2005 and 2013, Israeli exports in the UAV sector amounted to approximately $4.62B, with most of the exports being directed to the European and Asia-Pacific markets. In recent years, the trend of exporting UAVs to other markets such as Africa and South America has been increasing. Conversely, sales of drones are expected to surpass $12B in 2021, which is up by a compound annual growth rate of 7.6% from $8.5B in 2016.

It is estimated that in the next few years the use of UAVs by foreign armies in the world will expand and many of the capabilities currently being carried out by manned aircrafts will gradually be carried out by UAVs.

Israeli defense expertise is used in the civil sector as startup entrepreneurs use the knowledge they have accrued during their army service and implement it into their projects. In addition, Israeli military UAVs are exported abroad and are diverted for civilian missions.

This innovative research is also refined by various collaborations between the state, academic institutions and conferences, including at the UVID Conference, The School of Mechanical Engineering at Tel Aviv University, as well as The UAV Propulsion Technologies Conference at the Israeli Institute of Technology.


The Israeli government offers an assorted range of incentives in three main categories: investments and manufacturing; employment incentives; and research and development incentives., taking the form of various funding, grants and tax benefits.

For further brochures on Israel's robotics and aerospace industries, as well as other Islands of Excellence in Israel, providing insights, data, reports and fact sheets, be sure to visit the following link: