|Security threats within and outside Israel's borders allow it to test and improve its drones / Photo Credit: Dan Josephson (via Shutterstock)|
Drones are used each day in Israel’s military, both within and beyond its borders, wrote Guillaume Lavelle of The Times of Israel, a primarily English-language newspaper in Israel. Former military and intelligence officials populate the country’s drone industry. Some officials even became founders or engineers of local startups. Competing against China and the US, Israel is now a global force in the multibillion-dollar drone industry. There are threats surrounding Israel’s borders, providing the country plenty of opportunities to test and improve its drones.
Before Ronen Nadir founded his company BlueBird Aero Systems, he was a former military commander specializing in missile development. The firm sells combat drones all over the globe, including the WanderB VTolt that takes off and lands like a helicopter, and has wings to improve its speed. The company’s combat drones can take off and land in a jungle, a town, or the deck of a boat. Nadir said, “You will not believe it, but it took only four and a half months” from the first concept, scribbled on paper until this UAV was demonstrated to the first customer.”
When an American company creates a mini-UAV and it is used by the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, it takes a few years to develop the system before it can be used on the battlefield, Nadir noted. He explained that the engineers working on the development of the systems operate the drones right on the battlefield. These engineers will return to the office with “actual and real-time feedback,” Nadir added.
Hence, development cycles are short, enabling Israel to be the pioneer of the technology. Nadir stated, “The difficulty with ranking Israeli companies in the market is that they are very secretive over what they are selling and to who, as are the Chinese.” At a recent conference for Israeli drones at Airport City, Nadav Argaman, head of the Shin Bet internal intelligence services, asserted that Israeli technologies allow civilians to live comfortably without knowing what is happening “under the surface.” Former deputy police chief Zohar Dvir stated, “In order to be alive we have always to be a stage ahead, including in drones.”
Ben Alfi from agricultural drones firm BWR Robotics said drones are revolutionizing agricultural practices, be it pollination, spraying, or harvesting. For Alfi, the biggest opportunity right now is in agriculture.