|Drones account for almost 10% of Israel’s military exports.|
By Harriet Sherwood
May 20 2013
Israel is the world's largest exporter of drones, mainly to Europe, Asia and Latin America, in a trade worth more than $4.6bn (£3bn) over the past eight years.
A study by the business consultancy Frost and Sullivan found that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) account for almost 10% of Israel's military exports. Sales have declined from a peak in 2010, but Israel has recently signed a $100m deal, not included in the figures, with India to upgrade its drones.
Just over half of Israel's drone exports were to Europe, including a substantial number to the UK. Less than 4% of UAV sales were to America.
Israel is considered at the forefront of military technological development. It regularly uses drones to monitor activity in Gaza and carry out targeted assassinations.
The use of drones by the United States to carry out military strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan has attracted widespread criticism. UAVs are controlled remotely by military personnel.
The next generation of autonomous weapons will be fully controlled by robots. The United Nations human rights council is due to discuss a new report on "lethal autonomous robotics" in Geneva later this month.
Israel's military exports are worth more than $6bn a year, according to the Frost and Sullivan study.